The Sanctified Purveyors of Lethal Violence

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“… the Party hands out to you no prospect of reward…. We propose no bargain and we promise nothing. There is a passage in your journal which impressed me. You wrote: ‘I have thought and acted as I had to. If I was right, I have nothing to repent of; if wrong, I shall pay…. You were wrong, and you will pay, Comrade Rubashov.”

Party interrogator Gletkin explains to loyalist Rubashov why the best interests of the Party require his liquidation, from Arthur Koestler’s novel Darkness at Noon

“My least-favorite phrase in the English language,” former Republican congressional candidate Brian Miller sighed with weary disgust, “is ‘for the good of the party.'” 

Miller, chairman (at least for now) of Arizona’s Pima County Republican Party, made the mistake of assuming that the interests of the Party were best served by defending individual liberty. That’s why he protested the May 5 murder of Jose Guerena by a SWAT team in a widely circulated e-mail entitled “We Are All Jose Guerena.

“While an investigation is still underway to determine the facts immediately surrounding the killing, it is my hope that this tragic event will lead to a renewed discussion of the policies that routinely lead to heavily armed and militarized local police invading private homes and a renewed interest in the civil liberties codified in our Bill of Rights,” wrote Miller. 

Mr. Miller dispatched that message in the quiet confidence that he had done nothing wrong, and no cause to repent. His comrades in the Party Committee, however, insist that he is guilty of inciting “distrust of Pima County law enforcement agencies.” 

In a free society, “law enforcement” wouldn’t exist, although the presence of peace officers would be tolerated. Conditionally. In a constitutional republic, public demonstration of distrust toward “law enforcement” would be considered a token of conscientious citizenship. In the American Soyuz, however, criticizing “law enforcement” is akin to engaging in “anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda.” To that supposed offense, Miller added the even more grievous sin of undermining the interests of the Party. Acting on dubious procedural grounds, the Committee demanded Miller’s resignation.

“Mr. Miller’s statements regarding the SWAT raid have created serious problems for our elected officials, money raising efforts and have divided the Party,” fulminated the commissars in a public rebuke. “Mr. Miller was given repeated opportunities to either mend these fences or resign his position, and has chosen to do neither.”

As committee member Brian Brenner explained: “This is solely about the interests of the Pima County Republican Party.” Nothing else is — individual liberty, the preservation of the rule of law, or even the integrity of the constitutional framework for which Republicans express such pious reverence — is consequential.

“For these people, it’s all a big money machine,” Miller complained in an interview with Pro Libertate. “We live in Arizona’s only Democrat-majority county, and the entrenched Republican establishment here has become comfortable with the status quo. Sure, they never actually win, but they are comfortable and secure. The last thing they want is for people seriously committed to individual liberty to start shaking things up.”

Miller, who describes his political agenda as “progressively less government until we get to none,” hasn’t gotten along well with the torpid, self-satisfied Old Guard in the Pima County Republican Party, and his critics were eager to exploit Miller’s measured but critical comments about the killing of Jose Guerena.

“About four days after I sent that e-mail, we had an emergency committee meeting in which a representative of the Tucson Police Officers Association” — the local police union — “laid into me for about an hour about how I had called policemen ‘murderers,'” Miller recounted. “I hadn’t actually used that term; I had described the incident as leading to the ‘wrongful death’ of Jose Guerena”

The commissar from the police union reacted to that description by telling Miller, “I never want to hear anything like that coming out of your mouth again.” Miller, an Air Force reservist, replied that he would always defend the principle of citizen oversight of the police, just as he supports civilian control of the military.

“You have no right to criticize law enforcement,” insisted the police union official. “You’ve never been in law enforcement.” That comment, Miller says, “really lit up the room,” startling even some of his critics on the committee — but not enough, alas, to get them to re-examine their priorities.

“Within 24 hours,” Miller recalled to Pro Libertate, “the TPOA contacted every elected Republican, and every Party official, and told them to muzzle me.” This demand carried considerable weight in a Party apparatus controlled by people who defer reflexively to anyone clad in the habiliments of the State’s punitive priesthood. As Miller puts it, the old-line Republican leadership will always “bend over and grab their ankles when ordered to by the ‘public safety’ unions.” This is particularly true in Tucson, where police unions and their allies “scream bloody murder anytime there’s hint of cutting back on personnel or benefits.”

Tucson was one of the first cities in Arizona to experience the impact of the housing bubble’s collapse. Like many other municipalities, Tucson was faced with the deadly combination of plummeting home prices, accumulating foreclosures, and depleted revenue streams. As is the case elsewhere, the highest priority of the political class (including the real estate and financial service interests that had absorbed the local economy during the bubble) was to retain the loyalty of the legions. 

Thus in 2009 Tucson unveiled Prop. 200, the “Public Safety First” initiative, a measure that would have required the hiring of hundreds of additional police officers over a five-year period at an estimated price of $157 million. Owing to the huge and growing municipal budget deficit (which had climbed to $51 million by 2010),this most likely would  have required cutting back, or abolishing outright, every other program or “service” that didn’t involve “public safety” — that is, the exercise of government-licensed compulsion on behalf of the wealth-consuming class.

“People don’t feel safe in the city of Tucson,” quavered Colin Zimmerman of the Tucson Association of Realtors (TAR), which promoted Prop. 200. “They don’t feel safe in their homes. They don’t feel safe in the schools. Businesses don’t feel safe and don’t want to relocate here.”

Brandon Patrick, who organized the ultimately successful effort to defeat the measure, insisted that the TAR was peddling the purest piffle. “The suggestion that there’s more need than ever before for police is nonsense,” Brandon told the Tucson Weekly shortly before the election. In fact, crime rates in Tucson — as was the case elsewhere in Arizona — were down dramatically 

When Tucson’s tax victims refused to consent to another assault on what remained of their wealth, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords intervened on behalf of the armed tax-feeders by arranging for the city to receive a $12.3 federal grant from the “Justice” Department’s “Community Oriented Policing Services Hiring Program” — which is why the same police union that wants Brian Miller’s head on a charger endorsed the incumbent Democrat for re-election in 2010. (It’s also worth noting that Clarence Dupnik, the Sheriff who presided over the SWAT team that murdered Jose Guerena, is also a Democrat.)

The Regime’s police state stimulus program was enough to pay for fifty new taser-toting donut molesters. Keeping them on the staff, however, meant a sales tax increase that would siphon at least $40 million a year from the productive sector. That measure, too, was voted down. 

As is the case in nearly every significant American city, Tucson’s municipal oligarchy grew fat during the Fed’s housing bubble, and is now desperate to keep the “Public Safety” bubble inflated by any means necessary. This helps explain why Miller’s carefully modulated public criticism of the needless death of Jose Guerena, and militarization of police in general, provoked the wrath of Tucson’s ruling caste: Parasites of that kind are increasingly dependent on federal “public safety” subsidies. 

It simply won’t do for a Republican leader to abet doubts about the wisdom of the architects of the Homeland Security State, and the mouth-breathing armed minions who carry out their orders. This is true even when a pack of armored plunderers invades a home, guns down a young father in front of his terrified wife and toddler, and then deliberately allows the victim to bleed to death when timely medical assistance would have saved his life.

Despite the escalating campaign to oust him as chairman of the Pima County GOP, Miller makes a compelling case that he’s accomplished exactly what he was elected to do.

“I was elected to raise funds, bring in young voters, and expand our outreach to Hispanics,” Miller told Pro Libertate. “We’ve had great success on all three fronts. What’s happening now is in part an ideological clash, and perhaps more importantly the manifestation of a generational divide between more libertarian-oriented young professionals and the old-line conservatives who have traditionally run the party” — what might be called the “Judge Smails” constituency. 

As anyone familiar with the film Caddyshack will recall, Judge Elihu Smails was the embodiment of insular, conformist, country-club authoritarianism. The essence of what passed for his character was revealed in an off-hand remark the Judge made to Danny Noonan — the film’s central character — while delivering a patronizing rebuke to the flawed but essentially well-meaning young man: “I’ve sentenced boys younger than you to the gas chamber. Didn’t want to do it — I felt I owed it to them.”