by Steven Yates by Steven Yates

Another collection of fragments, some obviously quite recent, that aren't full-length article material. I would have preferred to call this Fear and Loathing in Fall of 2004, but I don't want Hunter S. Thompson to sue me.

Right before the Bush-Gore match-up in 2000 I penned my worst and least popular column. I've received plenty of negative email about that piece – it's still coming. I have gotten more than a few embarrassing reminders over the past four years about Homeland Security and the federalization of airport security, the USA Patriot Act, No Child Left Behind, and expansionist Medicare. We have seen the revival of calls for national ID, and without the kind of organized opposition that existed in the 1990s and stopped a stealth measure that would have gone into effect in 2000. Bush II and the present Republican-controlled Congress working together have probably expanded the reach of the federal government more than any president and Congress since the Nixon era, and certainly more than any real conservatives would do.

What was behind my momentary lapse into insanity?

I admit it: I was temporarily panicked at the thought of an Al Gore presidency. I'd forgotten these words by a writer I myself had cited in earlier columns and who almost assuredly knew what he was talking about:

The chief problem of American political life for a long time has been how to make the two Congressional parties more national and international. The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can u2018throw the rascals out' at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy…. [E]ither party in office becomes in time corrupt, tired, unenterprising, and vigorless. Then it should be possible to replace it, every four years if necessary, by the other party, which will be none of those things but will still pursue, with new vigor, approximately the same basic policies.

Those words, from Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World In Our Time by the late Carroll Quigley, Georgetown University political historian, are key to understanding the central dilemma of our time: the fact that the two dominant parties are more alike than they are different. So regardless whether Bush is re-elected or Kerry is elected, Rome on the Potomac will pursue a relentlessly interventionist foreign policy (Kerry is slightly more of a globalist than Bush). Kerry has criticized Bush's war on Iraq, but said little to indicate an alternative (other than wait for UN approval). Neither would do anything to stem the tide of illegal aliens streaming across our borders. Neither seems motivated to address the ongoing devaluation of our currency or the approaching economic disaster this portends. Neither Bush nor Kerry, that is, will do anything keep the U.S. economy from tanking a few years down the road when the rapidly growing mountain of accumulated debt catches up with us. Both are big-government spenders; both fit perfectly into a government accumulating well over $1 billion in new debt every day.

Common horse sense says that nothing significant will change this go around despite the horror stories being peddled by each candidate's followers about the other – which is not to say that this is probably the most animosity I've ever seen during an election season. I'll say it just once: a vote for either Bush or Kerry is a vote for the Establishment (Skull & Bones, Council on Foreign Relations, and so on). Regardless who wins, the Establishment wins. In accordance with Quigley's observations above, the country will pursue essentially the same policies, both foreign and domestic. A President Kerry may take us down the road to globalist socialism slightly faster than President Bush has, although in light of the past four years, even that is debatable. I doubt a President Kerry would scrap No Child Left Behind or any other of the current variants on educational social engineering. I doubt he will derail the Free Trade Area of the Americas, which despite the name is not a real free trade agreement. Either way, if the Demopublicans remain in charge, globalist socialism is on its way.

You may rest assured that on November 2, I will be voting for someone else – probably Michael Peroutka of the Constitution Party. Peroutka is pro-U.S. sovereignty and anti-UN; he is unequivocally pro-Christian and pro-life; he stands for Constitutionally limited government. One can look at matters like this: if you do not identify with the Establishment you have two options: you can either stay home, or you can vote your conscience. Although a number of writers on this site have made a case for simply sitting this election out, that has never sat well with me. Therefore I choose the latter.

There. You can let up on those negative emails now.

Final note: Patrick J. Buchanan – who bolted from the Republican Party back in 1999 to run on the Reform Party ticket in 2000, now says he plans to vote for Bush! I imagine his email contains a few unpleasant surprises.

I am sometimes asked, "Do you really believe in u2018conspiracy theories'?" I always answer, "Only the true ones."

I do not intend to vote for John Kerry for President partly because I cannot see myself voting for a man who, every time I see him, makes me think of Herman Munster.

What about the Libertarians? Here we come to a post that's liable to garner some hate mail. But as Morpheus tells Neo in The Matrix, "all I'm offering is the truth."

I have sometimes wondered if the Libertarians secretly wish to fail as a party. At least, that they have a surprising blind spot on what it is going to take for a Libertarian to get on the national radar screen.

At their national convention in Atlanta last spring, they had an opportunity to nominate a man with millions of dollars of his own money to spend: Aaron Russo. Russo, easily the most experienced and outgoing of the three Libertarian candidates this go around, had worked in Hollywood and had a lot of connections in the entertainment industry. He might have become a Libertarian Ross Perot (minus Perot's penchant for nuttiness), capable of buying airtime on national television to promote the Libertarian message on his own infomercials.

Instead they nominated a computer programmer and consultant from Texas named Michael Badnarik. Now don't get me wrong. Badnarik is doubtless a smart guy. He is knowledgeable about the Constitution, having written a book on the foundations of our freedoms and designed an eight-hour course on the subject. Under better circumstances he could have been the right candidate. But when all is said and done, he doesn't have any money. Not compared to what is needed to run a campaign capable of garnering attention outside late night talk shows. He wasn't the right candidate. Russo was. Thus once again, on Election Day the Libertarians will end up invisible. This time they will have done it to themselves. They don't seem aware that writing books and simply waiting for the public to read them and wake up to arguments doesn't cut it. The public isn't that literate. Most people – most are government school graduates, after all – need someone to lay the issues out for them, preferably in a way that is lighthearted and entertaining, or doesn't seem to be too demanding. Russo, I am convinced, could have done that. Badnarik hasn't.

Reason does not win elections. Money and powerful connections do. Which is why I do not expect to see a Libertarian president in my lifetime. But a few Russo infomercials could have made a few people think, and kept the LP from the invisibility now guaranteed to it.

Allow me to go out on a limb here. I'm going to make a prediction. If I'm wrong, so much the better.

Something is going to go amiss on Election Day, November 2. It's in the air. Grassroots Democrats pulling for Kerry are practically salivating at the mouth; in mainstream-media pseudo-pundit land, writers are already predicting that the Bushies will try to steal the election. These people never accepted the outcome back in 2000. They are spoiling for a fight. To some extent, this explains the protests in New York City at the Republican Convention a few weeks back, along with much of the rest of the animosity between Bush loyalists and Kerry disciples. A recent Gallop Poll has Bush ahead by 8 percentage points; but other polls suggest a much closer race. The truth is anybody's guess. But if this election is as close as the 2000 election was, expect there to be trouble. And along with whatever fallout ensues, expect a mounting challenge to U.S. sovereignty.

I wonder how many people realize that UN-backed "observers" will be monitoring this election in several states, almost as if the U.S. had already become a third world banana republic. They were invited by thirteen Congressional Democrats led by Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Tx). Initially, the UN turned down the request. Undaunted, Johnson took her case to Colin Powell. The State Department acted, and invited the "observers" here. The outfit doing the monitoring is the Vienna, Austria-based Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). One of the OSCE's closest partners is the UN. The "observers" arrived in late September, and are preparing to monitor five states: Florida (obviously), Ohio, Arizona, Missouri and Georgia. In Florida, they are already offering their two cents worth. It is fortunate that South Carolina does not appear to be on their radar screen (at least not yet). Two South Carolina Election Commission members I recently spoke to had no idea anything like this was going on. Needless to say, no national mainstream media outlet has breathed a word of it to anyone, so if you do not read or or you are not likely to have heard of it.

But then again, as our domestic culture continues to disintegrate, even if this election goes smoothly we will eventually arrive at a day when one side (most likely the Democratic wing of the Establishment) will refuse to concede defeat – possibly taking to the streets in mass protest instead of accepting a Supreme Court action like they did four years ago. Then we will face the worst Constitutional crisis of our time, especially with these globalists breathing down our necks.

Jacques Derrida died a couple of weekends ago after losing a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 74. Derrida was associated with the academic movement known as deconstructionism, an even more nihilistic offshoot of postmodernism. According to deconstructionism – so far as I can tell – everything around us we can describe in language can be construed as a "text," not just works of literature, economics and philosophy but architecture, restaurant interiors, everything. That's all there is, just "texts." (There’s a phrase associated with Derrida: "Nothing exists outside of the text.")

"Texts" never mean what they seem to mean. The point of deconstruction is to unmask authorial biases. Authorial intent is irrelevant, since authors are seldom aware of their own biases. As for restaurant interiors, one can ask questions like, What pictures are on the walls? What flags are displayed? Do the waitresses wear skimpy, revealing outfits? And so on. The point is, "texts" can be deconstructed in order to reveal biases – or just hidden, contextual, or new meanings. This point of view was a gold mine for latter-day Marxists who still see "capitalist class bias" permeating Western institutions, for radical feminists who want to see "masculine bias" everywhere, and for so-called critical race theorists who want to see "Caucasian bias" or "Eurocentric" bias. If a restauranteur displays, say, a Confederate battleflag… Well, we've seen enough right here to know what the deconstructionists would do with that. What they would not do is back up their views with logic. That's "logocentrism."

Derrida wrote 40 books. They have cryptic titles like On Grammatology, Glas, and The Postcard. I have a copy of the first around here somewhere. I think I picked it up in a second-hand bookstore. I read maybe ten pages into it. I didn’t think it made an ounce of sense. Few people outside of Derrida's cadre of academic followers claim to be able to make sense of his stuff. Casting aside all the usual cautions about speaking ill of the dead, I’ve long been working under the assumption that the guy was a grade-A nut. However, he had a skill that is extremely valuable in American academia today: he knew how to work the system, and how to play to the current mainstream's predilection for sensationalism over substance. He had a reputation for flashy clothes and general flamboyance.

He never had the following in his native France that he achieved here. Derrida's death did come to the attention of France's President Jacques Chirac, however. The other day a reader sent me the following tongue-in-cheek comments made by the French President: Jacques Derrida died the other day "if indeed u2018death' can be said to mean anything beyond the biases of culture, language, religion and philosophy."

Chirac continued, "Of course, we can't assert anything positively about Monsieur Derrida's recent failure to exist. We can't even state that he ever did exist, since he may have been a mere metaphysical projection of our own prejudices against absolutes. However, in as much as we may categorically claim anything – Monsieur Derrida will not likely be showing up for work tomorrow. Although, who is to say?

"Monsieur Derrida bequeathed a magnificent legacy to the global intellectual community. He has provided us all with the intellectual infrastructure to prevent us from seeking after truth. Thanks to him we know it is fruitless to assert anything with conviction, or to say that any ideology is less true than any other. They are all equally trifling. Their value, if any, lies only in the sport they provide for college professors."

Speaking of college professors, American academia is continuing its free fall into the bottomless pit of political correctness, leftist rage, and downright silliness. For example, countless professors this election season are openly proselytizing for John Kerry in classrooms supposedly devoted to academic subjects. That in itself isn't surprising; the same crowd proselytized for Al Gore four years ago, and for Bill Clinton before that. But what happens to professors who openly promote George W. Bush – even on their office doors? Based on my knowledge of the few who have, anyone tempted had better make sure he has the perfect job security of tenure first.

The latest stories of fear and loathing in American academia this fall:

A psychology professor at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Va., Denis Nissim-Sabat, was one of those people who opposed the Iraq War for a lot of questionable reasons, and hates George W. Bush because he is not statist enough, and hasn't offered enough entitlements. According to faculty senate records as reported in the school's student newspaper, "Nissim-Sabat said the war would result in more cutbacks for faculty and less student scholarships and loans." It is no surprise that Nissim-Sabat also injects leftist and globalist politics into his psychology classes. Some of his remarks, however, are bizarre non-sequiturs. For example, "Nigeria's power plant was built on a tectonic plate and rendered useless. We should forgive the debts to all third-world nations." Huh? One brave student dissented: "When a country defaults on its debt, their credibility in the world market is reduced to zero. Who would ever lend them money again?" The psychology professor's response: the student must be "the son of a rich oil miner."

It isn't just the students who need courses in elementary logic. In our age of declining academic expectations, so do the professors!

And then there's the case of Professor Rula Abisaab, originally from Syria and teaching history at the University of Akron in Akron, Ohio. Her specialty is supposedly the medieval Islamic world. Apparently, however, her "lectures" quickly dissolve into the usual leftist attacks on Western culture. A student identified as Lenny Edwards, both black and conservative in his views, once interrupted her asking, "Excuse me, but what does this have to do with the course we signed up for? This is all your personal opinion, when it's supposed to be a history course where we focus on facts." Professor Abisaab's response to Edwards' exercise of academic freedom: to give him a D+. (This was a guy with a 3.9 GPA.)

By the way, surely you've noticed that some of these names border on the unpronounceable. Welcome to the late affirmative action era. Diversity is our strength, remember?

Meanwhile, there is Professor Clifton Snider of the University of California at Bakersfield. When he assigns papers to his elementary English students, it is understood that certain points of view are off limits: "Topics on which there is, in my opinion, no other side apart from chauvinistic, religious or bigoted opinions and pseudo-science (for example, female circumcision, prayer in public schools, same-sex marriage, the so-called faith-based initiative, abortion, hate crime laws, the existence of the Holocaust, and so-called creationism)." Quite a potpourri, there – almost as if the topics had equal epistemic standing. Would Professor Snider, for example, contend that opposing so-called hate crime legislation is morally equivalent to denying the Holocaust? (Talk about lapses in logic!) But according to recent posts by students on some of the rate-your-professor websites that have sprung up over the past few years (recent here being September of this year), Professor Snider's primary classroom topic is leftist politics permeated with promotion of the homosexual agenda: in contemporary academe-speak, Queer Theory. When he is not also bashing George W. Bush on grounds similar to those of Professor Nissim-Sabat.

For our final exhibition of Academia Fall 2004's finest, there are cases of academic leftists who completely lose it when exposed to persons or ideas they don't like. Consider Professor David McCally, listed as an adjunct instructor at both the University of Florida and Santa Fe Community College in Gainesville, Fla. McCally punched out a life-sized cardboard statue of President Bush, and when confronted by the chairman of the Alachua Co. (Fla.) Republican Party, socked him in the kisser, provoking a fist fight. The police had to haul the professor away. McCally is apparently an enviro-wacko. Supposedly he's written several books on the environment, but only one item came up when I searched the site.*

At least I can pronounce the guy's name.

*I am grateful to Malcolm Kline of Accuracy in Academia for his generous supplying of these and many other horror stories of contemporary campus life via his emailed Campus Reports.

October 23, 2004