Wed. Apr 17th, 2024

By Edward-Yemil Rosario

The upcoming midterm elections are really about the issue of freedom. How we choose to define freedom and the role of government is what is at stake. This election will go a long way to answering the question: whose freedom? I believe that these elections will determine the nature of freedom and shape the way our society operates. As you will see, I believe the freedom advocated by the fringe right is not in actuality freedom, but a downsized version of it.

* * *

The history of the last 1000 years, indeed the history of humankind, has been, in a very real way, the history of the struggle to define “freedom.”

Throughout much of history, in civilizations across the world, people have been ruled by the strong and lorded over by those simply born into power and privilege. Up until relatively recently few even questioned the divine right of rulers. Fewer still challenged the idea that it was the place of the people to obey. Yet throughout history, the great thinkers had contemplated humankind’s ugly tendency to give in to its worst impulses of greed, fear, violence, and lust for power, and by the 1700s, this intellectual tradition had left its mark on the Western world.

Furthermore, advances in science and mathematics were changing the way educated people perceived the universe and were shepherding in a new understanding and respect for the laws of nature and the power of human reason. Centuries of political and religious turmoil in Europe inspired new ideas about the best ways for human beings to live together in peace, in the process rejecting the now antiquated notion that an invisible old and angry white dude with a beard preordained civilization and its structures.

I’ve just described about 600 years of the evolution of the definition of freedom in two paragraphs (not really, but close!). Missing from this all too brief description are some important points and nuances. One point in particular needs a little more elaboration. In the 1200s, some powerful gang leaders (actually, “feudal lords” but same shit) confronted King John of England. They owned much of the economic wealth and basically told the king that if he wanted to continue to acting like a king he would have to sign a document they had drawn up called the Magna Carta. It guaranteed that before the king could imprison one of gang members he would have to show probable cause, attested to by witnesses, and sworn testimony, that the person had committed a crime (we’ve all watched  Law & Order, right?). This is a right known as habeas corpus.

For four hundred years, the right of habeas corpus extended only to the British nobility, but shit started hitting the fan in the 1600s and it was then extended to other gang members such as the more “commoner” knights and to a few others. Otherwise, you were shit out of luck — no habeas corpus for the rabble.

However, the Enlightenment Era brought about a new concept of freedom that took root. John Locke, for example, held that all men (with the exception of people of color) are created equal, with natural born rights to life, liberty, and property, and that these rights are always in jeopardy unless people compromise their absolute freedom and form law-abiding governments under which to live. Government, it follows, is legitimate only if it is by the consent of the majority of the people, and its power must not be absolute. Government must be limited to powers that the people have given it and that serve the public good.

We take these concepts for granted these days but at that time, Locke’s ideas were considered so radical that Locke, fearing for his life, never admitted he was their author until shortly before his death. In the American colonies, his ideas helped start a revolution…

With its opening phrase, “We the people… ”, our Constitution boldly proclaimed that the source of all government is from the people, and only the people Actually, it was really some people, but that’s another discussion altogether, and I’ve taken up a large part of this post already.) The definition of “freedom” evolved between the 13th and 20th centuries, but it was mostly grounded in the notion that much of freedom had to do with individuals being free from harassment or imprisonment by government, or by exploitation by powerful groups or individuals. With the large-scale industrialization of the 19th century, another form of freedom took hold. Historically, a minority held wealth and one dimension of freedom was at least the ideal of protection of the average person from exploitation by those of great wealth.

However, with the 20th century came the development of some rather peculiar concepts of freedom. One such aberration, fascism, arose in Spain, Germany, and Italy in the early 1930s. In a fascist state, the right of property was absolute. While fascism was active in providing for the needs of the people, the reins of government was controlled by economic elites. Fascism has been defined as “A system of government that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership, together with belligerent nationalism.” Fascism promised freedom through a strong control of the average person, with a core governing concept that the business elite of a nation was far more qualified to run the country than were mere “people.”

Benito Mussolini, for example, spelled all this out in his treatise titled, “The Doctrine of Fascism.” He plotted out a government, not by and of the people, but a government for the most powerful corporate interests in the nation.

In 1938, Mussolini manifested his vision of fascism when he dissolved Parliament and replaced it with the Camera dei Fasci e delle Corporazoni — the Chamber of Fascist Corporations. Corporations were still privately owned, but now instead of having to sneak their money to politicians on the sly, they were openly in charge of government and could write their own legislation.

By now, I realize that you, my intrepid reader, are probably asking, “What the fuck does all this have to do with Kansas, Eddie?” Bear with me…

Growing up, reading Alisa Zino’yevna (aka Ayn Rand) was something of a family tradition. It was required reading in our household. My father would often give each one of us something to read and then we would have to discuss it critically. He also encouraged me to read Walt Whitman and other American transcendentalists — which was probably the antithesis of Rand’s “objectivism.” Looking back, I realize my father was trying to show me how to think critically; how to hold two opposing ideas at once and come away with something of value and perhaps original.

I think Rand appeals to young people because it is a morally stunted and self-contradictory philosophy. I have previously written refutations of Rand’s “philosophy.” Her epistemology has been taken apart by others, no need to revisit that here. I mention Rand here because there is a connection to humankind’s struggle to define freedom.

By the 1950s, fascism and its antithesis, communism, had redefined freedom, but largely failed to deliver anything resembling freedom when implemented by the likes of Stalin and Mussolini. A ramped up Cold War with the Soviet Union was being waged and the biggest thing then was the Red Scare and the threat of nuclear war. Unbelievably, people were actually buying “bunkers” to protect themselves from radioactive fallout in those days.

At that time, both Rand and Austrian economist Friedrich von Hayek proposed a new vision of freedom. Their freedom was more a negative type freedom. They asserted that self-interest controlled all human behavior, and the only true measure of what was best for individuals was their belongings or what they were attempting to accumulate. This “market” of getting and hoarding, acted out simultaneously by millions of people in a society as complex and huge as the United States, for example, produced hundreds of millions of individual “decisions” every moment. Hayek suggested there existed a force of nature, the product and consequences of all these individual buying and selling behaviors, which he called the “free market.” At the same time, Ayn Rand’s hugely popular novels, The Fountainhead and her magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged, championed a philosophy of an enlightened self-interest similar to von Hayek’s. Freedom was being redefined.

Instead of being a collaborative effort, the result of society working together to provide for the basic needs of the individual, the family, and society, freedom was now being refashioned as the individual’s ability and right to act in his or her total freedom for selfish self fulfillment, regardless of the consequences to others (within certain limitations). Freedom was a negative force in the worldview of von Hayek, his student Milton Friedman (father of the Chicago School of libertarian economics), and Ayn Rand’s objectivism. This freedom was more of a freedom “from” rather than a than a freedom “to.” This version of freedom was a freedom from social obligation, freedom from taxation; freedom from government assistance or protection (now perceived as “interference” or oppression). It was a freedom to consider one’s needs and wants, because if each individual followed his selfish desires, the mass of individuals acting in concert in a “free market,” would result in a utopia.

Yes! The world is flat, burn the fuckin’ olive tree and hock the Lexus!

This vision of freedom claims to be the true vision of a free world. Its apostles maintained that a world where government limited nothing but violence and wherein all markets were free — market here meaning the behavior of individuals or collectives of individuals (corporations) — had never before been attempted. Their opponents, progressives and liberals, pointed out that their system had in fact been attempted many times throughout history, and was the history of every civilization of the most chaotic eras. Lacking a true social contract and interdependence, these societies were characterized by physical and economic violence. In this social schematic, those most willing and able to plunder would rise to the top of the economic heap. In the past, they were rightfully called robber barons.

In the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s, think tanks funded by wealthy individuals and multinational corporations, joined forces with subservient politicians to win the “battle of ideas.” Greed, combined with a blind belief in free markets, was their dogma. This movement brought into power both the feeble-minded Ronald Reagan in the US and Margaret Thatcher in the United Kingdom. Reagan would oversee the greatest redistribution of wealth and the destruction of labor. Both Thatcher and Reagan would turn government into a force against labor, both busting powerful unions in their respective countries. Both “freed” markets by dropping tariffs and undoing regulations. In both instances, industry fled both countries, to wherever labor was cheapest, and the middle class was fucked without so much as a kiss.

This new economic dogma would be used in Chile with disastrous results. Poverty and wealth gaps would increase dramatically and the privatization of the social security system threw even more people into abject poverty. Of course, a few bankers, industrialists, and politicians became wealthy.

After the downfall of the Soviet Union, Milton Friedman’s “Chicago Boys,” not satisfied with their failures their in Chile, would apply this system with equally disastrous results in Russia. Undaunted and in need of a new country to experiment on, they found an ally with George W. Bush, whose entire cabinet was made up of people who shared the von Hayek/ Rand worldview. The result, as we all have seen, has been a failure of historic proportions. Well-paying jobs were replaced with jobs that demanded workers ask the question, “Do you want fries with that?” and social mobility dropping as wealth gaps increased to levels not seen for over a hundred years.

This is where we are living today and there are people still demanding we continue on this road. the response to the first African American president, a politician who at best is a corporate-friendly center/ right politician, has been a call for more of the same policies that will drive us back onto the Stone Age. I certainly hope you vote, but that you vote fully aware of what hangs in the balance: freedom.

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25 thoughts on “-=[ Freedom & its Discontents ]=-”
  1. I’ll be honest with you – I’m against the notion of “freedom” (at least as traditionally defined). The “freedom” that comes from some kind of social contract is fragile at best: as soon as the established order has the power and influence to start taking that contract apart, it will do just that.

    What I do favor is sovereignty – the individual empowering himself to be his own liberator, his own source of freedom. I have no vision of utopia (life is struggle, so get used to it), but rather one of a world in which one is responsible for himself alone: he has the power to be in charge of himself, yet he is in charge of no one except by the sovereign will of another individual (i.e. rule by individual consent – if one gives another the power to rule him, he can also take it back if it benefits his interests to do so).

    So, the the spirit of the sovereign individual, I say fuck voting! All the vote does anymore is give an unearned sense of legitimacy to a government you can’t really opt to not be ruled by – an afront to the individual’s sovereignty that I find unacceptable.

  2. “…George W. Bush, whose entire cabinet was made up of people who shared the von Hayek/ Rand worldview.” You either know zero about Bush’s cabinet or less about Hayek / Rand. There was almost no connection that I could detect between them. If you were to read some Hayek or Atlas Shrugged, you’d be repulsed by Bush’s rejection of ideas for life on earth.

  3. @ egoist,

    What you say has some truth in it – Rand would certainly be repulsed by the level of commitment to faith that the previous administration put on disply. However, with regards to economic policy I think she would have had much to approve of (lifting of regulations on business and so forth).

    That said, being one who actually has read a number of Rand’s works (including “The Virtue of Selfishness, “Philosophy: Who Needs It?” and of course “Atlas Shrugged”), I would say that Rand would certainly been appaulled at the unholy alliance between business and the state that exists today – she was the kind of person who was only interested in politics insofar as seeing the day come when she would no longer have to be interested in politics (i.e. keep the state out of the individual’s business). Ironically, her philosophy of Objectivism has been cited by many in the lobbying trade (a concept she voiced much distain for in “Atlas Shrugged,” BTW) as justification for the actions of big business’ interference in the affairs of the state.

    In short, I think that Objectivism makes the same core mistake that Marxism does – it promises a utopia coming about when certain conditions regarding the distribution of power come about. But when put into practice by people (which have a tendency to put their own spin on the ideals expressed by a given philosophy – sometimes sincerily, other times purely to reinforce their own power base) the opposite is actually achieved.

  4. @ The Late Mitchell Warren,

    Not to worry – the CIA (and all other enforcement arms of the government) will find themselves out-gunned soon enough if everything goes as planned…

  5. @Christopher: I think it was Emma Goldman (an anarchist) who famously said something along the lines that if voting were effective, ti would be illegal. I tend to agree with that sentiment, but I believe people mistake her meaning. Goldman was fiercely involved in political struggles — to the point where her life was imperiled. Goldman wasn’t saying to disengage politically, she was, IMNSHO, making the point that VOTING ISN’T ENOUGH. In order for the type of society YOU envision to have a chance, you have to be a participant in creating that vision.

  6. @Egoist: I assure you, I have read quite a bit of Rand: Both the Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, two works of fiction that are so horrible as to be almost comical (flat characters, absence of nuance, etc.). I also read, early on, “We the Living,” but by the time I got to her Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, I realized Rand was at BEST a sloppy thinker.

    In any case, my point wasn’t to make the case that neoconservatives were objectivists. I thought I made that clear. Both Hayek and Rand had nothing but disdain for neoconservativism. MY POINT was that the right shared the same notion of freedom as these two did. I never said the right was/ is SPECIFICALLY “Objectivists.” Shit, Rand herself wasn’t an objectivist. LOL!

    HOWEVER, as much as Rand disliked conservatives and Hayek attempts to distance himself from the right, conservatives co-opted many of his ideas regarding markets, and their vision of downsizing government, and “getting government out of the way” of the market and of individuals is the same same spirit of freedom espoused by those Rand and Hayek.

    Milton Friedman, a huge influence on American economics, was both a Randroid and from the Hayek school. Greenspan was another Randroid, and was part of Friedman’s “Chicago School” of economics. These people held tremendous influence over the modern American right. So, can we agree that while one can safely make a technical argument that the Right isn’t “objectivist” or “Hayekian” it did co-opt some of its major dieas?

    In practice, both Rand’s and Hayek’s ideas are miserable failures. And neoconservatives DEFINITELY aligned themselves with those ideas — at least to a certain degree. so yeah, neoconservatives aren’t objectivists technically speaking But the former Soviet Union wasn’t actually Marxist.

  7. @ Eddie,

    I’m familiar with Emma Goldstien and her philosophy regarding voting, but at this point I doubt that votes even matter anymore – no matter who gets into office, his/her first priority will always be to protect those who give out the biggest “campaign contributions” (read: bribes). I don’t think anything shy of a full-scale armed revolt has a chance in hell of changing that…

  8. Christopher: I am in total agreement as to your position re the effectiveness of voting today (and perhaps it’s ALWAYS been that way). I just simply do not agree with your response. Also, voting is, never was, enough. I don’t know if it will take armed conflict, but we definitely need more bright people such as yourself out there rallying the hoi poloi. ::grin::

  9. What is discouraging, as someone who has been aware of politics and notions of freedom for 50 years now is the erosion of collectivist ideals and the acceptance (glorification) of individualistic pursuits. I start to become hopeful when a Kennedy is elected, with the changes of the 60’s, with LBJ’s Great Society but then will come along a Nixon, a Reagan, a Cheney. Whenever it seems that we have a toehold on making this country a place for all of us, we are thrown back.

    And to some extent we are thrown back by our own hand. Carter would have been a 2 term prez if he hadn’t offered sanctuary to the deposed Shah. Clinton could have done a lot more if he had not been so careless with Monica. We did not rise up against the war in Iraq (and when we did the media didn’t cover it). We allowed the people who call themselves Teabaggers to frame the discussion around health care.

    The other side has a lot of money to fund the “grass roots” uprisings. And money to disguise it. Meanwhile Stewart and Colbert have gthered thousands on the mall but it is being covered as an entertainment event. The mobilization of early October was not covered at all.

  10. What I read here reminds me of one truth that I hold. That is that it doesnt matter what the philosophy (or in matters of religion theology) is, someone will USE it to support their own position, no matter what the orginal meaning was. So we have neo-cons, with their hightly religiously biased theories of freedom using Ayn Rand’s Objectionativity as a supposed philosophical justification.

    It is the orginal “politics makes strange bedfellows” scenario. And if you what many in the Tea Party say, they seem to have fascist and communism confused when they were historically polar opposities.

    Amazing what people will use to justify whatever they happen to believe…even when logically it doesnt fit.

  11. Side stepping any issues related to Rand or collectivism, i’d rather seize the discussion on voting. For the past several years, i’ve begun wondering if majority vote was really the proper way to run a country with diverse demographics and a large population. The majority do not always consider minority rights. The majority was able to stall progressive thought, such as the Civil Rights movement and the woman’s vote until enough people were willing to make enough self-sacrifice to move the majority consciousness. The majority is not always wise, or fair or discriminate in advocating sound policy. As Christopher said, “All the vote does anymore is give an unearned sense of legitimacy to a government you can’t really opt to not be ruled by – an afront to the individual’s sovereignty that I find unacceptable.”

    We are as far removed from our sovereignty as serfs. Should we buy land, its utilization is governed by a set of codes and restrictions. Your neighbors have more influence on how your house should look than you do. They can tell you its size, its appearance, sometimes even its color, all through their majority vote and their influence with their local assembly members. We are told where we can live according to the jobs made available for us, the number of children we have and whether or not we like pets.

    I believe in personal responsibility, but i’m afraid the current mentality is not in accepting consequences for actions, but in seeking subterfuge within a law making group, justifying their behavior as a legal recourse. We are not a lawful citizenry, but a citizenry filled with the obstinacy of children determined to get what they want, no matter the cost or how it will effect others. The concept of sovereignty is lost as the individual is busy trying to persuade the majority to his or her personal agenda.

    We are guilt tripped for not voting, labeled a member of America’s apathetic society, but apathy is hardly at the core of the problem. The problem is primarily, we have a majority incapable of making wise governing choices and a tawdry circus that takes advantage of the situation.

  12. “The freedom of others extends mine infinitely.” – Mikhail Bakunin

    “To vote is to abdicate.” – Elisée Reclus

  13. @Karlsie: There is freedom from the tyranny of the majority embedded in our founding documents. Voting is but ONE tool of many. As I have noted above, voting MAY not be enough, in order to maintain freedom, one has to be engaged in it. The basic political office, as defined by the Constitution, is citizenship.

    I do believe we have an archaic voting mechanism and the two-party system is merely a center/ right opposing an extreme right in a historical context in which the center has shifted tremendously to the right.

    We need election reforms and to get the $$$ out of elections.

    I don’t think we can begin these discussions without first confronting and then adequately answering the question: whose freedom?

  14. @James: no s[pecific ideology will contain all of human nature. However, I don’t think it follows that we should stop attempting to live in a way that affords AL people a measure of human dignity. I think we can start there. The market does some things well — as long as its excesses are kept in check. That means government. There are things that the market is not the solution and we shouldn’t see the market as a panacea. This is where we’re at today. Expect more free market mantra. Sometimes the “cure” is worse than the illness.

  15. @ Eddie,

    1. Most of the “citizenhip” powers that were once granted only to white, Christian, propertied males have been diluted as they have been spread to everyone else – what made the “citizen” powerful was the fact that it was such an exclusive club (an irony for a nation supposedly founded on the premise of all men being equal). The concept of “citizenship” this nation has is archaic and carries no weight anymore: not when every Tom, Dick and Harry lays claim to the title – and especially not when they all have no common interests (which pretty much defines the state of socail anomie that this nation faces today).

    2. The voting mechanism is only a small part of a much bigger problem – that is the concentration of power at the Federal level that the founders never intended to happen! The states (which are supposed to be the true governing authority over affairs that affect the average person) can no longer defy the union that was once voluntary: they have become too integrated into the Washington power structure for the average person to have any meaningful influence over their own policy-making process.

    3. On getting the money out of elections – not gonna happen! Not without the use of some serious force anyway: too many people in positions of power have too much to lose should that happen.

    In summary, the old institutions of the republic the founders established have failed – the power of the citizen is too small to have any real impact on policy, the powers of government too centralized for state and local powers to muster any meaningful challenge to (or even leave, for that matter…) and the money of special interests that dominate Washington politics are so firmly imbedded that there’s no way in hell that the political class will get rid of it (and why would they? it benefits them both personally and politically!).

    At this point, the nation is so corrupt that the only viable option the average person has for taking back any measure of control is armed struggle – now if only enough people would turn off “American Idol” and reach for their weapons…

  16. @Christopher: But as I noted in my post, those rights were slowly expanded. There are opposing forces — a dialectic of change.

    My issue here is either you engage, revolt (however YOU think correct), or do nothing.

    Out of the three choices, doing nothing is the same as condoning the status quo. If you’re taking up armed revolt, as you seem to say we should be doing, then this is just talk. I am an activist by profession and a doer by nature.

    I’m open to suggestions if you have any. I do believe those espousing the wider sense of freedom is more flexible, more open to collaboration, while those who espouse the Randian/ Hayek downsized definition of freedom to be totalitarian.

    I believe one either works within the system for change, or does SOMETHING. Anything else, is, IMNSHO, an exercise in futility.

    You can’t be neutral on a moving train and the sad truth is that the majority of Americans will NOT engage tomorrow and hence an important direction will be chosen, not by voters, but non-voters.

  17. [Quote=Eddie]But as I noted in my post, those rights were slowly expanded. There are opposing forces — a dialectic of change.[/quote]

    Expanded? No – if anything, bringing more people into the system watered down its overall effectiveness (paving the way for lobbyists to take over).

    [Quote=Eddie]Out of the three choices, doing nothing is the same as condoning the status quo. If you’re taking up armed revolt, as you seem to say we should be doing, then this is just talk. I am an activist by profession and a doer by nature.[/quote]

    I’m with you on the first point. As to the second, I am actually amassing an arsenal to myself and am involved in a militia (no, no one of “tea party” groups – one with some real bite) in preparation for the collapse of this whole system.

    As to the third, all I can say is that you’re not really accomplishing anything that can’t be taken away in a heartbeat – all it takes is for some special interest to bribe enough members of the political class to undo everything activists like yourself spent a lifetime trying to achieve. No, the only way to meet force is with force of your own: otherwise your efforts are doomed to failure from the start.

    You seem like a decent enough fellow and all, but that doesn’t really mean anything to a system that undermines the sovereignty of the individual – if you want to get something the establishment can’t just waltz in and take from you, you need to command enough power of your own to make them think twice about committing assets of blood and treasure into taking it from you.

    [Quote=Eddie]I’m open to suggestions if you have any.[/quote]

    I doubt you’ll follow this advice (as you’ve already admitted that you aren’t take up arms), but I’ll say it anyway for anyone who does want to hear it…

    1. Build up an arsenal of your own – I recommend a good mix of higher calibure handguns (9mm or better – but I prefer .40 cal Glocks), assault shotguns (preferably fitted with slug barrels) and assault rifles (I personally prefer the AK47, but the AR-15, M-4 carbine or equilavent models will suffice) and that you get proficient in the use of all weapons within that arsenal (so spend plenty of time at the shooting range if you live in an urabn area).

    2. Train yourself physically for hand-to-hand combat – take up a martial arts class or else find a friend already proficient in hand-to-hand combat willing to train you (I took this option – more cost-effective) and spend plenty of time building your physical strength, dexterity and stamina: you never know when the fight will get up close and personal, so one can’t stress this part enough.

    3. Get your hands on some police and military training manuals – get wise to the tactics that government forces will try to use against you.

    4. Either join a militia or form one of your own – but (if you join one) be careful to pick one with people willing to actually fight, not just folks who complain and pass out leaflets.

    That’s my advice on preparing for the coming social meltdown – for those who want to be ready when the shit hits the fan, that’s my basic “grocery list” of steps to take.

  18. “As to the third, all I can say is that you’re not really accomplishing anything that can’t be taken away in a heartbeat – all it takes is for some special interest to bribe enough members of the political class to undo everything activists like yourself spent a lifetime trying to achieve. No, the only way to meet force is with force of your own: otherwise your efforts are doomed to failure from the start.”

    I beg to differ. last year the organization I work for and the program I helped create helped over 5,000 people EMPOWER themselves.

    Over the last ten years, I have been part of a process that has resulted in developing affordable housing that has literally helped thousands of FAMILIES live with dignity.

    I may not have changed the world, overthrown the political structure or anything you may consider earth-shattering, but I am doing SOMETHING. and if you ask the people we are working with, I am sure they will tell you that what wee do is worthwhile, the very essence of what community means, in fact.

    How many people have you shot? what have you changed? Have you formed an army, or a community of people sharing your “armed revolt” sentiments?

    And you can pooh pooh the expansion of rights all you want, but as a Latino, I can tell you, I don’t take these “rights” for granted.

    I have ancestors who slaved under the lash of a plantation overseer, and they fought against that oppressive force in many ways, though they knew they would never see the light of a free day.

    I’m sure there are women here who fought against great odds to get the vote, though they knew they would never probably see the day that they could vote.

    there were slaves who educated themselves and worked WITHIN and without the slave mentality though they knew they would never see freedom.

    But they DID something. If you’re not doing anything but amassing an arsenal then you offend not just me, not just the political process, but you offend OUR ancestors, who used everything within their power to effect change.

    Now, what have you done? How many people have you shot for freedom? Because if you’re not shooting anybody yet, then it’s time you actually DO something other than criticize the system.

  19. [Quote=Eddie]Over the last ten years, I have been part of a process that has resulted in developing affordable housing that has literally helped thousands of FAMILIES live with dignity.[/quote]

    I hope that this doesn’t happen to you, but should some wealthy real estate developers take an interest in those homes you acquired your days are numbered – I know of plenty of low-rent patrons that were thrown out of their apartments less than a year ago in my area to make way for a new shopping complex.

    [Quote=Eddie]How many people have you shot? what have you changed? Have you formed an army, or a community of people sharing your “armed revolt” sentiments?[/quote]

    I won’t confrim or deny that I shot anyone (you know, talking about militia ops. is kinda like talking about fight club – you just don’t do it), but I certainly do have connections to a community of people who share my sentiments and we have changed a number of things in our lives by taking back what the social establishment has stolen from us.

    [Quote=Eddie]And you can pooh pooh the expansion of rights all you want, but as a Latino, I can tell you, I don’t take these “rights” for granted.[/quote]

    I take no “rights” at all – I have what I have because I have the power to take and prevent from being taken. Any “right” granted to you by a social contract can also be taken away by social contract, so rather than relying on the good graces of the established order I simply take what I deem is mine.

    And the ethnicity society ascribes to me has nothing to do with it! In fact, I reject such labels altogether – they do nothing but place arbitrary dividing lines between people and prevent them from rising against their oppressors (instead focussing their angst and aggressions on each other). However, I won’t deny that society considers me “white,” my militia’s commander as “black” and a fair number of our associates to be “hispanic” or “asian:” but such labels mean nothing to those of our number – we are sovereign individuals first and anything else thereafter is just a descriptor of certain physical characteristics and cultural origins (which mean very little to us).

  20. Christopher: BY LAW, “wealthy investors” cannot take over these developments. this is par of community development corporations and are protected as such. No one can take over these developments to make a profit. So, the organization I work for actually creates PERMANENT affordable housing. it’s better than shooting people.

    As for the rest of your response: you seem to operate from the notion that you live OUTSIDE of the social context, and the FACT rermains that you don’t. You don’t have this privileged, purely individual existence. Just you living wherever it is you’re living makes you part of that social process. Even if you’re living in a cave, stockpiling cans of cat food, you’re STILL a participant, socially speaking.

    whatever it is YOU consider yourself is valid, but how society views you is just as (if not more) valid. In the meantime, you don’t seem to be doing much to change your world, only awaiting some “end time” in order to engage an apocalyptic vision. I won’t put you down for that, I mean, whatever creams your Twinkie. HOWEVER, before admonishing others, perhaps some self-evaluation is in order.

  21. [Quote=Eddie]BY LAW, “wealthy investors” cannot take over these developments.[/quote]

    And who makes the “law?” The political class – which have been largely bought off by special interests. Any “law” made by the powers of government can be changed by tht powers of government.

    Like I said before – if wealthy developers take an interest in your land, your days are numbered: it’s just a simple matter of bribing enough members of the political class to have the “law” rewirtten to favor them. I sincerely hope that doesn’t happen, but if it does action within system won’t save you.

    [Quote=Eddie]As for the rest of your response: you seem to operate from the notion that you live OUTSIDE of the social context, and the FACT rermains that you don’t. You don’t have this privileged, purely individual existence. Just you living wherever it is you’re living makes you part of that social process.[/quote]

    Yes – the whole “no man is an island” thing. I get that, but my goal is still to operate as separately from the established order as possible: in my case, that involves being part of an outsider community that ignores or subverts the establishment as much as we can (within the confines of our power and interests, that is).

    [Quote=Eddie]whatever it is YOU consider yourself is valid, but how society views you is just as (if not more) valid.[/quote]

    I beg to differ – the views of the established order are quite fickle (if not outright hypocritical) and thus there’s little reason to concern myself with its views of my activities. My concern is to build up a community that serves my own interests: one that will outlast this corrupt, decaying society that presently dominates the mainstream.

    [Quote=Eddie]In the meantime, you don’t seem to be doing much to change your world, only awaiting some “end time” in order to engage an apocalyptic vision.[/quote]

    I’d love to tell you how the world around me has been changed, but that would involve discussing ops. (which I don’t talk about with those outside the inner circle) – but trust me, me and mine aren’t simply waiting for an “end time:” we are actively undermining the powers that be.

  22. BTW Eddie, do you really think think that a social order that allows its own citizens to be tortured or simultaniously fights and supports violent drug cartels can be reformed within the system?

    Keep in mind that such activities have been going on for more than 40 years – in spite of which politician holds office or how many citizens protest against such things.

    This is not a system that can be reformed, negotiated or reasoned with, but this only became apparent in recent years due to the fact that it doesn’t even really pretend to give a damn about the will of the average person anymore (nothing beyond a handful of platitudes and lip service anyway…) – resistance is the only viable option to such establishments.

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