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Whisphers in the Wind

Whisphers in the Wind

As the fiasco of U.S. democracy shreds at any sense of dignity the world watches on and pretends that the health of the American empire is vibrant, the opinionated social media activist and the interested expert all find outrage in the moment.  Biden and Trump drips from the chanting lips of those who are storming the halls of political might. Far in distant lands, inside the obedient nations of the American empire heads of state read out words of support and condemnation. Outraged citizens from abroad criticise the ousted president, or they cheer for him to troll from the platform of twitter. The social media giants had long ago shown their loyalties as they ban and limit elements of some perspectives of very much the same political monstrosity. But in the end, does it change anything?

The outraged and protesting tug and pull for the reigns of rule. The mob that failed at the sort of works democracy now reveals itself as just that violent destructive blob of people who want more control, want more influence and want a government that does things for them often against others. Whether it is proud boys, ANTIFA, MAGA or BLM the government as it stands really does not change that much, perhaps ‘Amen’ is switched to ‘Awomen’ and pronouns are balanced with some sensitivity or maybe the jingoists get another minority group to blame for the decay of Western or American civilisation. But in the end the empire is ever present abroad and at home.

For the rest of the world, we are forced to watch the melodrama of U.S. politics, again. As though the United States is the centre of the world, or universe. Perhaps the world should care less about what happens inside the U.S. with as much concern as the average American seems to care about the rest of the world. Millions of humans lead their lives despite the petty and often pathetic self importance of US partisan politics and yet some how, the American empire finds them. Whether it is a drone hovering high above, visiting with random murder or a blockade of warships enforcing an almost ancient embargo, it is the American prevalence in all of our lives that seems to be destroying not only the U.S. itself, but the wider world. And when a victor emerges, the world still gets war. Mostly American wars. These are not civil riots protests that waved a fist against state led bigotry, nor are they anti conscription riots over government forcing individuals to fight overseas in another war. Such past riots, have had limited impact in quelling the growth of government or in tempering its destructive might.

Journalist Julian Assange is held captive in legal purgatory, punished for revealing the crimes of war mongers and lifting the up the skirt of many governments. Ross Ulbrycht a prisoner because he created a website, the details of his conviction would  make for an unbelievable fiction and yet it was all too real. Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning are pariah patriots, believers in the religious texts that most Americans claim to uphold and yet most of the voting public and voted for rulers disregard the details of such a constitution and Bill of Rights. And millions of poor and desperate foreigners live and die in the frontiers of foreign policy, their homes and day to day ruined so that macho sounding politicians can profit by propping up tyrannies of maniacal madness. Inside the prisons of the U.S. itself are thousands of convicts punished for victimless crimes, the prohibitions and regulations of a cancerous government that claims to be for freedom, when in fact it dissolves it at every chance. The protests are not for any of them.

A small child, perhaps now dead, coiled in infant agony, starved as its innocent eyes bulged in anguish fronted recent articles covering the desperate situation in Yemen. A situation that would be impossible if not for the aid and assistance of the US and it’s imperial allies. Neither Trump of Biden would save that baby and the many others like it.  The Saudi kingdom, is a profitable friend. The protesters that support the two coins of US partisan politics do not care about the children of Yemen either. One needs not look too far to find the victims of foreign policy, recent and distant to see the true outcome of such actions, but it seems few actually care to. And should they be presented with such facts and terrible images, a religious fog washes across their eyes, allowing them to either dismiss or contextualise the murder and suffering. But a slob tweeting from the toilet or a hair sniffing buffoon are both credible enough to lead, and be despised because they are not the other.

Protests inspired by Greta Thunberg visited many cities across the planet, sort of serious protesters found more energy than the Kony2012 social media inspired activists. They chanted and spread hashtags, cheered for the Swedish teen to shame political masters and then as often is the case, the energy dissipated. Nature continues to suffer, but a new smart phone in the hand is more appealing than living inside a canvas tent among the trees. The fixation with taxing the problem away and regulating industry to ‘not pollute’ is one of often curiosity, ignoring the waste of government itself. Not to mention the destructive pollutant that is the war machine. There once was a time when green movements were anti-government and anti-war. Now many of the supposedly green champions are inside the cathedral of government and so long as biodegradable material is used to transport the depleted uranium shells or a tree is planted on a base somewhere as gas guzzling tanks trample trees in distant lands, then the message is sound.

It seems that since the emergence of COVID-19 that the Peoples Republic of China has become popular to despise. An authoritarian government that had bashed human rights since before its inception, a nation of growing power and influence, that with patience managed to take advantage of the laziness and complacency of modern Western culture. Many inside the West profited from and helped to cultivate the communist planners of China. But now supposedly courageous journalists and politicians criticise the communist state.  Those who had their fingers inside the red cookie jar are ousted, the many honey traps are revealed but before COVID-19, few cared about the organ harvesting, mass executions, forced labour camps and surveillance state. It is hard to reveal those things as Chinese money flowed so lavishly.

The future unfortunately is China’s, not because of the billions of unique individuals of China but the regime itself. The culture of control, social credits, censorship, travel restrictions and surveillance. The nationalism of compromise communism that has developed in the decades since the death of Mao. It is a template by which other national governments may adopt, not by any devious design, but inevitable instinct. The protesters, voters and mobs that throw their violent tantrums do not stand opposed to that, unlike those in Hong Kong who feel the crushing tyranny grip them.  In the US and its partner nations, the coming tyranny is inevitable. It is often welcomed and it is one of elite insight, for your health, for your safety. The custodian government is here for the child citizen, and jobs, welfare will be available. Is that not Utopian?

Just as the war on terror normalised the security state, the war on drugs introduced no knock raids and intrusive searches, the war on the virus will bring with it the ever controlling health state. One that had already been creeping in. A health state of supposed benevolence for those nations of Public Health will continue to see grow, where an ideological health care system trumps choice and efficiency. Instead it gives careers and less care and a generic approach to solutions, that seldom suits the many individuals in need. Then the many regulations strangling society to ensure that the consumer, employer and employee are all directed and guided into one homogenised pattern. Choice, freedom, independence and individual responsibility are all deemed to be selfish. To be dependent, to have fewer or no choices and to be part of a collective is considerate, altruistic or even woke. For many of those protest, the public tantrum is about themes of the same controls, not ending them.

Whatever Americans think about their nation, whether they burn or worship their flag. How little or much that they know about their national history, it is insignificant to the perspective of those in foreign lands who understand the USA for what it actions reveal it to be. A war empire. When the mostly slave owners penned those words on that famous cannabis sheet it is unlikely that the republic that they envisioned would some day become greater than the British empire. And when the French sold lands on the North American continent, that never really belonged to them, to the young republic or when the British burned the capital building after defeating the U.S. invaders of Canada it is unlikely that they could imagine their future dependence and partial obedience to mighty U.S. empire. For those who have been visited by U.S. warplanes, tanks and ships the rhetoric of freedom and liberty are bloody lies. Just as they are for most Americans. But that is not being protested about.

So now as social media waffles on over the calamity in the streets of U.S. cities, will it change a thing? In a few months it would have been but one in many riots that have ravaged U.S. streets. Riots that have claimed lives and destroyed property.  None of which changed the perpetual nature of the US government, domestically or abroad. The outraged don’t really care about much other than the shrillness of the other side. The dead children in Yemen or Afghanistan, the burning lands of foreign wars don’t get that much concern, such scars and tears belongs to others. So when one side stands atop of the heaped mess as winner of the US government, the business of war will go on. The dignity of the individual will be bludgeoned and those who want nothing more but to control, to rule and to be taken care of, shall be victorious. But too few really cared enough to stop it. And those who do care, they are but whispers in the wind.

Episode 504: Re-Examining The Non-Aggression Principle w/ Keith Preston

Episode 504: Re-Examining The Non-Aggression Principle w/ Keith Preston

57 Minutes

PG-13

Keith Preston is the proprietor of AttackTheSystem.com and an expert on the history of anarchism.

Pete asked Keith to come on to have a discussion about the Non-Aggression Principle and whether it is a vital part of anarchist/libertarian ideology.

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News Roundup 10/7/20

News Roundup 10/7/20

US News

  • The DNI declassified a memo from former CIA director John Brennan saying Hillary Clinton had a plan to distract from her email server by blaming Russia for hacking her leaked email. [Link]
  • The Michigan Supreme Court strikes down the governors Covid-19 lockdown executive orders. [Link]
  • Trump says the US will not pass another stimulus before the election. [Link]
  • John McAfee was arrested in Spain for failing to pay taxes in the US. He is expected to be extradited. [Link]
  • The former head of the OPCW attempted to testify at the UN, but it was blocked by the US and UK. The GrayZone published his planned statement. [Link]

Azerbaijan 

  • The death toll from fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan has increased to at least 250 people. [Link]
  • Some Democrats are calling for the US to cut military aid to Azerbaijan. [Link]

Middle East

  • A US judge orders Iran to pay $1.4 billion for a missing FBI agent. [Link]
  • Israel is looking to build 4,400 settlement homes in the West Bank. [Link]
  • A bipartisan group of lawmakers is looking to give Israel veto power over weapon sales to Arab countries. [Link]
War on the Suburbs: How HUD’s Housing Policies Became a Weapon for Social Change

War on the Suburbs: How HUD’s Housing Policies Became a Weapon for Social Change

There are few things more synonymous with the American way of life than the suburbs. While certainly not without problems, the suburbs have been home to middle class Americans since the end of World War 2, and even before. But the suburbs are under attack from certain elements of the left as a source of social inequality and (what else?) “white privilege” and “white supremacy.”

If you are alarmed by this article, that’s a good thing. Because these elements of the American left seek nothing more than the total destruction of your way of life, from the people who live in your communities to the types of houses that you live in to the places where you will be allowed to shop and how you get from one place to another.

The policy is called Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH), but beyond this specific HUD policy, there’s a philosophical and political attack on suburbs that goes well in excess of any single policy. There is, without mincing words, a War on the Suburbs in America. It is a war not against a geographical location or a type of housing or community, but an attack on a way of life.

What Is Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing?

Most people are aware of the existence of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, but don’t think much about it. However, HUD has a lot more ambition than you might think: Under the Obama Administration, they made it their mission to radically change the makeup of America by attacking the suburbs.

AFFH isn’t just a program. It’s a directive and a sort of raison d’etre for the entire Department. Effectively, the program requires any town or other jurisdiction receiving federal housing funds to keep track of statistics with regard to race, disability, familial status, economic status, English proficiency, and other categories. Any discrepancy between the community’s records and those of targets set by the federal government is considered evidence of discrimination and funds might be withheld.

AFFH isn’t just “social engineering.” It is a profoundly totalitarian system that forms the bedrock of HUD’s war on the suburbs.

While the alleged inspiration for this is – what else? – “equality (of outcome),” the truth is much more hard nosed. The War on the Suburbs serves the dual purpose of both punishing those who do not kowtow to the totalitarian aims of the Democratic Party as well as further atomizing these communities, breaking them up, urbanizing them and making them easier prey for big business and big government alike.

HUD has moved away from AFFH, or at least the Obama Administration’s interpretation of it, under the Trump Administration. The changes greatly dismayed the Obama-era HUD Secretary Julián Castro, who said they did nothing less than gut what AFFH was under the Obama Administration. While the new way of doing AFFH was challenged in court, the courts sided with the administration for once.

However, threats of AFFH resurfacing have come up during Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign. Tucker Carlson discussed the effects of AFFH, as well as Biden’s plan to continue the regulation:

Americans are fleeing urban areas in huge numbers. Big cities are just too mismanaged, they’re too dangerous. Unless you’re very rich or very poor, you’re getting out. New York City lost 53,000 people in 2019 – they will lose far more than that this year. Most of these refugees have relocated to the suburbs, where they imagine they are safe from the effects of disastrous urban policy. But they’re not. Democrats want to abolish the suburbs. They are too clean and nice, therefore by definition, they are racist. The Biden campaign has highly specific plans on how to do this.

It’s called Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, it’s a HUD regulation, it was written during the Obama Administration. Biden’s advisor’s plan to enforce it. It will cut off critical federal funds from municipalities unless those municipalities submit to federal control of urban planning. Towns will be ordered to abolish zoning for single-family housing – because single-family homes, needless to say, are racist. Low-income, federally subsidized apartments will go up in the suburbs. It’s a good bet you won’t see any of this, you won’t see projects being built in Aspen or Martha’s Vineyard or anywhere else Eric Holder vacations. But in your neighborhood? Oh yeah.

 

How Did the War on the Suburbs Start?

The War on the Suburbs began under President Barack Obama. Obama himself was an opponent of suburban sprawl and declared in February 2009 that the days of suburban sprawl were “over.” Obama’s rhetoric – urban-centric – can often be contrasted with that of the previous Democratic President, Bill Clinton, who self-consciously and ostentatiously sought ways to connect with suburban and rural voters. In comparison, Obama appointees at HUD and EPA tended to come from big cities in blue states.

The term they use is “smart growth.” This effectively means forcing more and more Americans to live in higher density areas. HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan and Undersecretary Ron Sims, Transportation undersecretary for policy Roy Kienitz, and the EPA’s John Frece all favored this agenda. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was quite straightforward in his language: the administration sought to “coerce” Americans out of cars and onto light rail. The stimulus package passed by the president to the tune of $8 billion focused largely on light rail, which only benefits Americans living around a handful of larger cities.

Such policies have little chance of passing through legislation. However, there are administrative and bureaucratic means to foist these programs on American citizens. Bureaucratic czars can simply deny funding to cities and states that are not in compliance with the diktats of the president’s agenda.

Europe, the UK in particular, provides an example of what houses will look like when the urbanite proponents of “smart growth” get their way – the average house size in the UK is a scant 800 square feet.

83 percent of home buyers prefer the single-family home commonly associated with the suburbs when house shopping, according to the National Association of Realtors and the National Association of Home Builders.

Beyond aesthetics or a “green” politic, there is another reason why those favoring a strong role of big government and those who cheer for “woke” big corporations might prefer to see the suburbs committed to the dustbin of history: the suburbs represent individual aspiration and decentralized control. Cities represent a highly bureaucratized form of living with much less individual ownership. Put in simple terms, urbanites are more atomized, more controlled by central authority and have less skin in the game – perfect consumers, perfect employees.

There is an element of class war here: the ideological issues that play the best in suburbs (roads, wages, schools, housing prices) are effectively the issues of the middle class. Compare with the agenda advanced by the Democratic Party since the lame duck years of the Obama Administration: climate change, “gender” ideology, amnesty for illegals and racial grievances. The latter of these are largely the purview of affluent, professional-managerial class types who tend to congregate in America’s urban centers.

Finally, the rise of the War on the Suburbs coincides with a rise in suburban voters going red. While this trend has been underway since 1966, it was largely reversed under both Obama and Clinton. However, Scott Brown’s election to the Senate in 2010, and Mitt Romney’s failed campaign in 2012, heralded the beginning of a move by suburban voters to the Republican Party. The difference has been even more pronounced at the state and local level where governors, senators and congressmen have won office thanks to overwhelming support from the suburbs.

Democrats are right to fear the suburban edge. Even though there has been explosive growth in urban areas over the last decade, it is mostly concentrated in what are mostly cities in name only – Ft. Worth, Phoenix, Charlotte, Houston – rather than classically dense urban areas such as Boston, Philadelphia or San Francisco. Thus, the War on the Suburbs is ultimately a political weapon.

Predictably, even establishment conservatives have joined in this pile on. No less an institution than The American Conservative, founded by Pat Buchanan, has put forward the notion that the suburbs and the single-family housing unit are a Big Government program that need to be abolished. This article does little more than put a market-friendly spin on the vitriol produced by the various left-wing sources cited. It is a striking indictment of movement conservatism.

Safe Streets Are a Form of White Privilege

There are a number of reasons that people choose to live in suburbs, but they can mostly be boiled down to two: First, you don’t have to share a wall with anyone or have your neighbor’s house a whopping six feet away. Second, the suburbs are a much safer place to live – and thus, a far better place to raise a family – than the urban cores.

This is, according to those who wish to destroy your way of life, a form of (what else?) “white privilege.”

If we have henceforth covered the mechanisms by which urbanites wish to destroy the suburbs, consider this an exploration into the ideology they will use to do so. “White privilege,” as with other aspects of so-called “critical race theory,” is, in practice, a form of racial demonization whereby whites (and, increasingly, non-black minorities, in particular Asians and affluent Hispanics) are painted as unworthy of their property and position in life.

Any disparity in outcomes in favor of whites (or any other ethnic group) is treated as de facto evidence of discrimination and racism. Rarely mentioned is that whites are actually third by income with regard to race (behind East Asians and Indians). When broken down by nationality, whites appear in only three of the top ten slots with regard to income in a list dominated by Asians. In the next ten (i.e., the top 20) there are only another three white nationalities represented. Thus, “white privilege” theory is, at best, misguided and, if we are being less generous, is an outright, propagandistic lie.

Remember all of this the next time you read “rich” and “white” paired together as a lazy political smear.

Once the suburbs are branded as “racist,” it then becomes a matter of public policy to attack them and dismantle them as communities. This is what is behind the attack on the suburbs in general, but single-family housing units in particular.

The Battle for Single-Family Housing

Single-family housing units are currently the epicenter of the battle in the War on the Suburbs. Charlotte, North Carolina has sought to eliminate single-family housing units entirely. Minneapolis, Minnesota, who in mid-2020 were in the process of eliminating their police department, was able to successfully eliminate single-family housing units by a 12-1 vote. For its part, some in Albuquerque (not exactly the picture of urban density) have suggested banning backyards.

There has been an attempt to retcon the history of single-family housing units as “racist.” An article on Chicago Unheard, a left-wing education blog, details the ideology in stark, “mask off” terms: wanting your kids to go to a good school or live in a nice neighborhood is racist. Part of this is a general sleight-of-hand by the affluent, professional-class American left, which long since ditched concerns with income and the working class for racial fetishization: “racism” no longer means what everyone thinks it does (i.e., actions and attitudes reflecting racial bigotry), but rather the definition used by campus radicals: an invisible power structure that, like phlogiston, explains every instance of disparate outcomes.

The News & Observer, the main newspaper in the Greater Raleigh area, likewise put the question into bold, stark terms informed by the spate of left-wing rioting in the United States, starting in the summer of 2020: destroying single-family housing is the next phase in the war against the American way of life. The article calls not just for the allowance of multi-family housing units, but active attacks on single-family housing units.

Leading lights in the Democratic Party likewise championed the destruction of the single-family housing unit at the norm, including 2020 presidential candidates Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren and Julián Castro. For their parts, Cory Booker claims to live in a $435,377, detached, single-family unit in Newark, though it’s not clear that he actually lives there – or, indeed, in Newark at all. Elizabeth Warren lives in a $3.6 million home in Cambridge, Massachusetts. No word on whether or not they would be selling those to move into a quadruplex, which underscores another important point: The affluent progressives who champion the destruction of the suburbs will, as usual, not have to live with the consequences of the policies they support. They will be able to use their wealth to insulate themselves.

The battle against single-family housing units is philosophically in alignment with the broader War on the Suburbs: Any neighborhood whose demographics do not match those desired by ideologically motivated government bureaucrats is going to be destroyed. The weapon is the Section 8 housing benefit and we already have a rather famous example of a community destroyed by it: Ferguson, Missouri.

The Sad Tale of Ferguson

Most Americans know of Ferguson, Missouri as the place where 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot by a police officer. Brown had threatened and attacked the officer after robbing a nearby store.

None of this mattered much to the rioters, however. They destroyed the city in an orgy of violence that came in three waves: First, August 2014, after the initial shooting. Second, late November and early December, after a grand jury found that there was no evidence to indict officer Darren Wilson on any charges. Finally, there was a third wave of rioting in August 2015, on the anniversary of the shooting.

Section 8 has played a key role in transforming communities like Ferguson from close-knit suburbs into violent, atomized hellholes. A St. Louis Post-Dispatch article on the matter, detailing how the reasonably comfortable middle-class suburb was transformed into the high-crime area where police were forced to constantly patrol. The New York Times buries the lede and notes toward the very bottom that “like other older suburbs, Ferguson has lost a fair share of more affluent residents, and lower-income families have taken their place.”

Time does not mince words: Its article on the phenomenon was called “How Ferguson Went From Middle Class to Poor in a Generation.” Within 20 years, the town went from majority white with low unemployment and poverty rates, to majority black with 13 percent unemployment and doubled poverty in a decade.

One of the reasons? Ferguson’s zoning laws do not prohibit high-density housing structures, which made it an ideal target for destruction by Section 8.

As America’s larger urban centers become more gentrified, there has been a concerted attempt to move the underclass out and into low-rent suburbs with little political clout. What we can expect to see under a new Democratic administration is effectively the weaponization of the urban poor to bust up the suburbs and throw them into chaos.

Ferguson isn’t the only place where this is happening. An extensive dive into the subject on City Journal, which called for the end of housing vouchers entirely, discusses how many working-class black families who left the cities to escape the problems that cause everyone to leave cities, are encountering the same social dysfunction in their new suburban homes.

The genesis of Section 8 as the primary means of government housing funding comes during the Nixon Administration. Whereas previously the government had preferred to build housing projects (which obviously come with problems all their own), the Nixon Administration preferred Section 8 for two reasons: First, it favored the free market (to an extent) over straight government intervention. Second, it did not require maintenance costs to be born by the government.

As with many government programs, it quickly became a cash cow for those who knew how to game the system while leaving those it was intended to help high and dry. It also had the impact of creating ghettos in suburbs where once there was none. Former Democratic Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland has stated that Section 8 vouchers replace “vertical ghettos with horizontal ones.”

The impact goes far beyond simply increased crime, though that would surely be enough. EMTs are routinely called for the same kind of people clogging urban hospital emergency rooms with vague complaints of nonspecific malaise. Schools are destroyed by an influx of problem pupils. Gang crime emerges where once there were none. The increased crime comes with increased social costs, all of which must be borne by the working-class families who inhabited the area before the legion of Section 8 tenants were dumped on their community. The sum total of all of this is that property values decline.

Another unintended consequence is increased segregation. Where poverty-level blacks who have just moved out of impoverished urban neighborhoods move into comparatively affluent white suburbs, the result is white flight. Ferguson is an example of this.

The point isn’t to beat up on Ferguson. It is simply that Ferguson is a well-known place in America for all the wrong reasons that is also an emblematic example of what Section 8 and high-density housing units can do to a formerly stable, safe, working-class community.

Beyond the Single-Family Housing Unit

The fight goes even beyond the single-family housing unit and into the entire layout of suburbia. The Wall Street Journal notes that urbanists have a fixation on “expand[ing] often underused train systems, downtown condominiums, hotels, convention centers, sports stadia and ‘star-chitect’-designed art museums, often at the expense of smaller business, single-family neighborhoods and local shopping areas.”

There is a growing hostility toward the yard and the garden. The New York Times ran a piece denouncing your lawn as racist and contributing to global warming.

In what is perhaps the most extreme form of hostility toward the suburban way of life, in March 2020, The Atlantic ran a piece by David Brooks attacking the very existence of the nuclear family. The article discusses the extended family as a backdrop, mostly to point out the “unnatural” (whatever that means) character of the nuclear family. When it comes down to solutions, the mask slips: Brooks suggests that we replace our families of birth with families of choice, effectively bringing the atomized, hyper-individualistic, “choice” of the free market to the family unit.

This represents yet another attempt at atomization: Replacing blood families with what are effectively “Uber for families.” Such people are necessarily more vulnerable to victimization and predatory activities by both big business and big government.

This might at first seem a bit far afield from the matter of housing, but it is not. The attack on the suburbs must be seen in the broader context of an attack on the American way of life. It is not an attack on buildings, but rather an attack on a lifestyle – one enjoyed or aspired to by the overwhelming majority of Americans.

The affluent, protected classes, connected to the halls of power, are in no danger. It is the average American who will suffer. Just as the decline in the quality of public schools has left the affluent, who can send their children to private schools, unscathed, so will the destruction of the middle-class suburb leave unscathed those who can afford to live in gated communities, behind high walls, well insulated from the consequences of their politics.

War on the Suburbs: How HUD’s Housing Policies Became a Weapon for Social Change originally appeared in The Resistance Library at Ammo.com.

 

 

America’s “Days of Rage”: The Extensive Left-Wing Bombings & Domestic Terrorism of the 1970s

America’s “Days of Rage”: The Extensive Left-Wing Bombings & Domestic Terrorism of the 1970s

As the summer of 2020 dawned, left-wing radical groups began rioting and taking over parts of America’s cities. While this specific form of left-wing violence is new, left-wing violence itself is far from new in the United States. Indeed, one of the most hidden and concealed parts of recent American history is the extensive left-wing violence that began in the late 1960s and continued into the 1980s.

At first, one might think that these were isolated incidents of small-scale “protest” or even minor violence. However, upon even brief examination, we find out that the outpouring of leftist violence over this time period was anything but minor. The most likely explanation for why you have never heard of this until now is that the events of these years have been consciously buried by those who would prefer you not know about them.

As the left once again ratchets up both its rhetoric and its physical violence, it’s time to re-explore this period of American history. What started as a non-violent student movement quickly escalated into a campaign of terrorism against the American people. And while the similarities may not be terribly striking yet, astute readers of this article will quickly see the world in which we live more and more closely resembling the Days of Rage.

The Days of Rage

The Days of Rage were in fact a short and discrete period of time – three days of demonstrations that took place on October 8 through 11, 1969. Throughout this article we will discuss events that took place both before and after the Days of Rage, but consider this period a sort of “coming out” party for the Weathermen, also known as the Weather Underground.

The Weathermen started out as a faction within Students for a Democratic Society. Without getting too much into the weeds, much of what happens during this period of leftist terrorism in the United States has its genesis in a faction fight between the Weathermen, who controlled the national SDS organization, and the rest of their faction (known as the Revolutionary Youth Movement II or RYM II), who were in opposition to the more classically Maoist Worker Student Alliance.

Tensions ran high because the stakes were high – nothing less than total control of the largest student radical organization in America and all of the spoils that came along with that. Many within the Weathermen faction of RYM II believed that they were fighting literal fascism coming to America in the form of President Richard Nixon.

Sound familiar yet? It’s about to sound a lot more so.

On October 6, 1969, a statue memorializing a police officer killed during the 1886 Haymarket riots was blown up. No one ever figured out who committed this act of iconoclasm, but the tangible effect of the act of political terrorism was the final isolation of the Weather Underground from the rest of the SDS.

The Weathermen then shifted their activity to the Days of Rage, a protest rally with the slogans “Bring The War Home!” Many wielded lead pipes and were clad in football helmets, ready for a confrontation with the police.

Turnout was disappointing. The Weathermen expected a massive turnout, but only got about 800, who stared down 2,000 Chicago police likely itching for another fight after the 1968 Democratic Convention. By the first night, about 500 had deserted the protest, with about half of the remaining 300 being Weathermen from around the country.

Abbie Hoffman and John Froines, two members of the Chicago Seven, showed up, but declined to speak and left. The remaining hardcore of Weathermen and their supporters shifted the goalposts to simply fighting the police as constituting victory.

At 10:25 p.m., Jeff Jones, one of the leaders of the Weathermen, gave the signal and chaos erupted. The crowd moved through the city, smashing windows of ordinary cars and middle-class homes throughout Chicago, as well as small businesses such as barber shops.

The next day, October 9, a “Women’s Militia” comprised of about 70 female Weathermen planned to attack a draft board office, but were prevented from doing so by the Chicago Police Department. The governor called up 2,500 National Guard members to protect Chicago, and protests for later in the day were canceled. The Black Panther Party’s local leadership attempted to distance themselves from the Weathermen, describing the group as “anarchistic, opportunistic, adventuristic, and Custeristic.”

The next day was the last day of the Days of Rage proper, centered around a march of 2,000 through a Spanish-speaking area of Chicago. The next day, October 11, the Weathermen attempted to reignite the protests, but were quickly sealed off by Chicago’s finest. Approximately half of the crowd were arrested in 15 minutes.

It was after the events of the Days of Rage that the Weathermen became the Weather Underground and began moving underground as the name would imply. At a meeting known as the Flint War Council, which was attended by Barack Obama advisor William Ayers, taking place between December 27 and 31, 1969, the Weathermen dissolved their version of SDS, changed their name to the Weather Underground and declared that they would engage in guerilla warfare against the United States government.

Before continuing with the laundry list of terrorist actions carried out by the Weather Underground, it is worth briefly explaining their ideology. The Weather Underground was not a classically Marxist nor, strictly speaking, a Maoist group. Their cues came more from the American New Left. Thus, much like the radicals creating chaos in American cities in the 2020s, they were far more focused on opposition to the American state, “white privilege” and “white supremacy” than they were in creating bonds across the working class.

In this regard, they differed both from the Maoism of the Progressive Labor Party (made up of former members of the Communisty Party, USA, who supported Mao against Kruschev and thus had very real ties to the American labor movement) and the so-called “New Communist Movement” (comprised of younger student activists sympathetic toward Maoism and Third Worldism, but without organic ties to the existing Communist left and the labor movement). They did not, as some other groups in both Maoism proper and the New Communist Movement did, seek either ties with the American working class (which they largely considered “bought off by imperialism”) or the official sanction of Beijing (a long-term goal of both Maoists and New Communists).

There are three important takeaways from all of this inside baseball:

  • The Weather Underground considered the American government to be fascist.
  • They believed that American military and civil government institutions should be treated in an identical manner to how the Viet Cong would treat the American military.
  • The American working class, in particular the white American working class, was considered apathetic and useless at best, but generally more considered an active opponent of revolution – thoroughly reactionary and thus, the enemy.

The Weathermen After the Days of Rage

In the first year after the Flint War Council, the Weather Underground engaged in a series of over a dozen bombings or attempted bombings throughout the United States. While supporters of the Weather Underground generally attempt to downplay the significance of the bombings, the group attacked courthouses, the New York Police Headquarters, the Pentagon and the headquarters of the National Guard. Additionally, police found multiple bomb factories designed to aid the guerilla efforts of the group. While 1970 was a highwater year for the group, there were other years of increased activity and the Weather Underground did not disband until 1977.

There were dozens of terrorist attacks carried out in the years between 1970 and 1977. It would be impossible to talk about them all in detail without writing an entire book on the subject. However, some of them are worth pulling out from the pack to discuss individually:

  • New York City Arson Attacks: The home of New York Supreme Court Justice John M. Murtagh was attacked with Molotov cocktails. Judge Murtagh was the presiding judge of pretrial hearings for 21 Black Panthers accused of planning a bombing campaign against the city. There were additional attacks against the Columbia University’s International Law Library, Army and Navy recruiting booths and a parked police car in the city.
  • Timothy Leary Jailbreak: Acting as hired mercenaries for The Brotherhood of Eternal Love, a psychedelic drug distribution enterprise, the Weather Underground broke Timothy Leary out of jail for $20,000.
  • United States Capitol Bombing: On March 1, 1971, the Weather Underground detonated a bomb at the United States Capitol.
  • Pentagon Bombing: On March 19, 1972, the Weather Underground blew up the women’s bathroom of the Air Force wing of the Pentagon in commemoration of Ho Chi Minh’s birthday and in retaliation for the bombing of Hanoi.

In October 1973, the federal government dropped most of the charges against the Weather Underground because new restrictions on electronic surveillance (without a court order handed down from the Supreme Court) meant that the charges likely would not stick. A more complete – and voluminous – list of Weather Underground terrorist attacks can be found here.

Black Liberation Army

The Black Liberation Army was formed in 1970, by members of the Black Panther Party who operated as members of both groups concurrently. Between 1970 and 1976, the group was involved in over 70 acts of violence, including the murders of 13 police officers. Some of their attacks included:

May 19th Communist Organization

The May 19th Communist Organization was a reorganized version of the Weather Underground that emerged after the latter began to fall apart. It included members of the Black Liberation Army, the Black Panthers and the Republic of New Afrika, as well as the Weather Underground.

The M19CO was more classically Marxist-Leninist, but no less eager to engage in terrorism. They broke Assata Shakur, convicted of the murder of a state trooper, out of prison and spirited her to Cuba. They were also involved in the robbery of a Brinks truck in 1981, along with the Black Liberation Army, as well as several bombings, including those of the National War College, the United States Senate, the Washington Navy Yard Computer Center, the South African consulate and the Policemen’s Benevolent Association.

Symbionese Liberation Army

Most people know of the Symbionese Liberation Army, if at all, as the group who kidnapped and brainwashed Patty Hearst. Beyond this, they are an excellent example of how a small, but committed, cadre of left-wing activists can wreak havoc far and beyond their numbers, which never exceeded 22.

Their first major action was the assassination of Oakland, CA superintendent of schools Marcus Foster and badly wounding his deputy Robert Blackburn. The pair were attacked with cyanide-packed hollow point rounds as they left a school committee meeting. Foster, the first black superintendent of schools in Oakland, was assassinated because the SLA believed he was going to introduce identity cards in the school system, which they considered “fascist” and which he, in fact, opposed.

Their most famous action was the kidnapping of Hearst publishing heiress Patty Hearst in 1974. She was held by the group for 19 months before she was apprehended by authorities. At first, the SLA demanded the release of Foster’s assassins, but when this proved impossible, they demanded the Hearst family distribute $70 worth of food to every needy person in California. The Hearst family took out a loan to do so, which would have cost $400 million, but the operation descended into chaos and the SLA refused to free her. The group sometimes restricted Hearst to a dark closet for weeks at a time. She was raped both by leader Donald DeFreeze (“Cinque”) and Willie Wolfe (“Kahjoh”).

When recovered, Hearst had an IQ of 112, as compared to 130 before her abduction. She chain smoked, had a flattened affect and had trouble remembering significant parts of her pre-SLA life. She weighed 87 pounds when apprehended.

The group committed a number of bank robberies both before and after Hearst’s kidnapping.

The Lost History of American Leftist Terrorism

Most Americans have never heard of these acts of terrorism from leftist groups that were so numerous throughout the 1970s. But this is a prime example of “those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” The urban unrest, which has rocked America in the early 2020s, is nothing new. The 1960s saw both race riots and left-wing terrorist groups looking to exploit animosity between racial groups in America.

The question is what are we going to do about it? The answer so far from our elected officials is “not much.” If leftist terrorist cells were willing to go this far when they had active opposition from government and corporate figures alike, what are they going to do when confronted with apathy or encouragement from elected officials and the business sector?

The answer remains to be seen, but will certainly be some variant of “nothing good.”

America’s “Days of Rage”: The Extensive Left-Wing Bombings & Domestic Terrorism of the 1970s originally appeared in The Resistance Library at Ammo.com.

 

Federal Agents Occupy Portland guest Will Porter

Federal Agents Occupy Portland guest Will Porter

Will Porter returns to FPF to discuss Trump’s deployment of well-armed federal agents to Portland. The feds are carrying out mass abuses of protesters, including arresting people for an unnamed reason and throwing the detainees into unmarked minivans. Several journalists have been targeted. Police have disabled at least one man by shooting him in the head with a rubber bullet. City and state officials want the feds gone; however, Trump says they are deployed as part of his order to protest statues. 

Natural Born Citizens: Understanding Who Can Be POTUS in a Nation Beset By Divided Loyalties

Natural Born Citizens: Understanding Who Can Be POTUS in a Nation Beset By Divided Loyalties

Every four years, we are reminded that the president of the United States must be a “natural born citizen.” But what does this even mean? Does it apply to everyone born in America, and is there a difference between a “native born” (one naturalized at birth by statute) and a “natural born” (one who does not require any naturalization) citizen?

That’s the thing: It’s never really been decided who is and is not a natural born citizen of the United States. In fact, there’s not even universal agreement that anyone born within the borders of the United States is a natural born citizen. Unsurprisingly, there is an ideological divide in the United States between those who believe anyone born here is a citizen and those who disagree.

While the concept of a “natural born citizen,” which goes all the way back to England, is often discussed in terms of who can and cannot be the president, it alludes to bigger issues: Of illegal vs. legal immigration as well as assimilation, because its goal is to protect against electing someone with divided loyalties. The concept itself has roots in the Old World, but it also presents pressing questions for the United States today that go far beyond presidential politics and to the very core of the character of our nation.

There was a massive immigration to the United States between the end of the Civil War and the beginning of the Great Depression. However, those who are so quick to remind us of this historical truth neglect another: There was also an almost total moratorium on immigration between the Great Depression and when Ted Kennedy and his paymasters opened the borders in 1965. Further, those such as Pat Buchanan and Ann Coulter have explored the role that mass immigration played in dramatically expanding the scope and size of the federal government in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Birthright citizenship was for freed slaves. So why is it being used to allow the children of illegal aliens to vote in our elections and enjoy other benefits of citizenship? More to the point, why are we allowing one faction of American politics to import an unlimited number of reliable voters, and how is this undermining our representative republic?

The Roots of Natural Born Citizenship

The concept of “natural born citizens” goes back to at least 1608, with Calvin’s Case. This court case attempted to determine whether or not a child born in Scotland after the Union of the Crowns could be considered an English subject, receiving the rights and privileges thereof. While this might sound far away, this case has been explicitly cited in the United States (not just the colonies) as the bedrock of the natural born citizen question under the law.

The case in question was to determine whether or not a child born in Scotland could inherit estates and own land in England. This was not a theoretical question at the time due to the rights, privileges and duties that came with holding land during this era. It was taken as a given by most medieval legal systems that one could not hold land in two different kingdoms, as this would mean fealty to two possibly antagonistic monarchs.

However, in this case, there were no two antagonistic monarchs: King James VI of Scotland had become King James I of England. While the two were governed as separate countries, they were now in personal union under King James. The British courts ultimately found that those born after his ascension to the English throne were natural born citizens, but those born before it were not.

Practical considerations were likely in play here: Naturalizing all Scots would have meant a much bigger appetite for authoritarian rule and the Divine Right of Kings. The court case was later used by Patriot colonists to argue that Americans had the Rights of Englishmen.

From there, the concept is used throughout English and later British nationality law, but always in a similar manner to the United States. “Natural born” is used, but never defined. The general consensus is that this means that citizenship is transmitted by land (jus soli), not blood (jus sanguinis). However, even this has a number of dangling questions and unresolved contradictions, as we will find out.

What Does the Constitution Say About Natural Born Citizens?

The United States Constitution mentions natural born citizens only once: when clarifying qualifications for president. This is the only special privilege that those natural born citizens of the United States hold over those who are naturalized.

This has been challenged a number of times, most notably by Abdul Karim Hassan, who filed challenges to the rule on the grounds that it violated the Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution. In fact, over a period of years from 2011 to 2013, Hassan, a Guyanan-born naturalized citizen of the United States, filed no fewer than six lawsuits to overturn the prohibition against naturalized citizens becoming president of the United States. He lost every one.

There have also been attempted Constitutional Amendments introduced, but none have passed. Each time, these were attempts at making a single naturalized citizen eligible for the presidency: First, there was a Constitutional Amendment proposed in 1974, by Representative Jonathan Bingham, with an eye toward making Secretary of State Henry Kissinger eligible. Kissinger had no interest that we know of in running for the highest office in the land. Rather, the attempt to rewrite the Constitution was more about making him fourth in line for presidential succession.

The second attempt at amending the Constitution in this manner was then-Senator Orrin Hatch’s Equal Opportunity to Govern Amendment in 2003. This was designed to allow California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger the chance to run for president. Schwarzenegger has long been a critic of the natural born citizen clause of the Constitution and has reportedly considered challenging the law himself at times.

Scholars mostly agree that the purpose of this clause was to prevent undue foreign influence in American government.

Natural Born Citizenship in America Throughout the Years

As with most aspects of American law, there have been some fluctuations in the interpretation of natural born citizenship throughout the years. The Naturalization Act of 1790 clarified that the children of U.S. citizens born abroad would be considered as natural born citizens of the United States. This distinction was repealed by the Naturalization Act of 1795. Both acts required that the father had resided at some point in the United States.

There was an instant debate in the early United States over what constitutes a natural born citizen and how this differed from a “native born” citizen. Lynch v. Clarke in 1844, was the first court case to hint at birthright citizenship, that is citizenship stemming from being born on American soil rather than having it come from one’s parents. The case revolved around a New York State law that restricted inheritance of real estate to U.S. citizens, a common provision at the time. An 1884 court case, In re Look Tin Sing, found that Chinese born in America were citizens regardless of their parental citizenship and how much time they had spent in China since their birth. In 1898, United States v. Wong Kim Ark affirmed that parental citizenship was not a requirement to be a natural born citizen.

But an earlier case, Minor v. Happersett in 1875, found that the citizenship of those born in America of foreign parentage was dubious.

The 1939 decision Perkins v. Elg found once again that those born in the United States were natural born citizens, no matter how much time they spent outside of the country and for the first time specified that they were eligible for the office of president of the United States. Montana v. Kennedy, a 1961 Supreme Court decision, found that a man born of an American woman by Italian paternity was not a citizen because the laws of the time he was born excluded him. At that time (1906), your father needed to be American for you to qualify. The distinction was only granted to both parents some 28 years later in 1934.

A 2010 case brought before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that American citizens can lose their citizenship if the territory in question ceases to become American territory, for example the Philippines, which the United States acquired during the Spanish-American War and held until after World War II, weathering a massive insurrection from 1899 to 1902. In this case, a Philippine-born litigant was found to not be an American citizen, even though his parents might have been considered American citizens, despite having lived their entire lives in the Philippines. While several appellate courts have ruled that those born in the Philippines when it was an American territory are not and would not have been American citizens, the matter has never been ruled on by the Supreme Court.

Puerto Ricans were made United States citizens by statute by the 1917 Jones–Shafroth Act.

The Changing Landscape of American Immigration Law

None of this can be divorced from the more general attitude of Americans with regard to immigration, specifically as expressed through immigration law. Article I, section 8, clause 4 of the United States Constitution authorizes the United States Congress to make immigration policy.

The first immigration law passed by Congress was the Naturalization Act of 1790. This famously restricted immigration to “free white persons… of good character.” The law excluded a number of people from the naturalization process, including indentured servants, free blacks and Native Americans, though free blacks were allowed citizenship through several states at birth. The law likewise specified that to be natural born, a citizen had to have a father who had resided in the United States. Such children would be natural born citizens, even if born abroad or at sea. Indeed, this is the only statute in American history to include the phrase “natural born citizen.” Those seeking naturalization needed to reside in the United States for two years and for one year in the same state.

The Naturalization Act of 1795 was the next stop on the road. This increased the residence period to five years and introduced a “notice period” whereby those intending to naturalize were expected to give three years notice of intent. “Good character” was changed to “good moral character.” The Naturalization Act of 1798 later changed the residency period to 14 years and the notice time to five, largely as a naked political attempt to stop immigrants from naturalizing and voting for the Democratic-Republican Party. It led to a large increase in naturalizations from those trying to beat the clock.

This law was effectively repealed in 1802, when the Democratic-Republicans were firmly entrenched in power – residency was reduced to five years and notice of intent to three. British soldiers who stayed behind were explicitly excluded from citizenship by the law.

After this, immigration law is static until the Fourteenth Amendment, which does not address immigration and naturalization at all, but rather makes all freed black slaves into American citizens. In 1870, a law was passed to allow for naturalization of blacks, but Asians were still excluded and continued to be.

The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 ended all immigration of Chinese laborers into the United States. It was, in effect, an expansion of the Page Act of 1875, which prohibited the immigration of Chinese women into the United States. The intention of this law was largely to cut down on the rampant trafficking of Chinese women into the United States for prostitution to Chinese laborers. Many other Chinese women coming to the United States around this time were concubines or second wives.

The Chinese Exclusion Act did not just prohibit further immigration from China into the United States. To leave and then return to the United States required special paperwork. The Scott Act of 1888 expanded this to explicitly bar reentry of any Chinese leaving the United States for any reason. The Geary Act of 1902 further expanded the law to make it necessary for all Chinese to obtain certificates of residence if they wished to remain in the United States.

While not formally a law, the Gentlemen’s Agreement of 1907 bears mentioning. This was an informal agreement between the United States and the Empire of Japan wherein the latter said they would not issue passports to Japanese subjects looking to emigrate to the United States of America. The American part of the deal had the United States tolerating existing immigrants and allowing their wives, children and parents to join them.

Many circumvented this law by entering into arranged marriages through the mail with what were called “picture brides,” a process very similar to the mail-order bride phenomenon of today. What’s more, the Japanese government itself circumvented the law by providing passports for those seeking settlement in the Territory of Hawaii. From there it was easy to emigrate to the United States. In the 1920s, the Japanese government ceased issuing passports to single women for the Territory of Hawaii.

An 1882 law banned “lunatics” and the infectious. In 1901, Congress passed the Anarchist Exclusion Act after President William McKinley was assassinated by anarchist Leon Czolgosz, who was born to immigrants.

The next major immigration law was passed in 1917, the Immigration Act of 1917. This was a massive expansion of immigration restrictions that first introduced a literacy requirement. There had been a long struggle for a literacy requirement going back to 1894, with the Immigation Restriction League championing this as a requirement for immigration. In 1895, Henry Cabot Lodge’s bill making literacy a requirement was passed, but vetoed by Democrat Grover Cleveland. President Theodore Roosevelt supported the notion in his first address as president in 1901, but the bill didn’t have the votes to pass Congress in 1903. The Senate passed a literacy requirement in 1906, but the House didn’t and the provision was eliminated in committee.

This was the first act of Congress to impact European immigrants. It also barred all immigration from the Asia-Pacific zone, which was defined using coordinates on the globe and included China, British India, the Malay States, Arabia, Afghanistan, Siam, Burma, the Dutch East Indies, most of the Polynesian islands and even the Soviet Union east of the Urals. The literacy requirement applied to all immigrants over 16, and required them to read 30 to 40 words in their own language. The bill raised the immigration head tax to $8 and removed the exemption for Mexican immigration.

The Emergency Immigration Act of 1921 introduced immigration quotas, which heavily favored English-speaking and Northern European countries. Immigration was capped at 3 percent of the total population living in the United States from that country according to the 1910 census, which prioritized British and Northern European immigrants. Skilled professionals were allowed without regard for origin and the quota restrictions did not apply to Latin America. The number of immigrants admitted to the United States fell dramatically as a function of this law, from 805,228 in 1920, to 309,556 in 1921-22. The Immigration Act of 1924 further curbed immigration by limiting all Eastern Hemisphere immigration to 154,227 annually.

The Immigration Act of 1924 created the United States Border Patrol and increased Eastern Hemisphere immigration limits to 165,000. Other quotas were lowered to 2 percent based on the 1890 census.

While not a statute, the Supreme Court decision United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind retroactively stripped all Indian-Americans of citizenship on the grounds that they were not white.

President Herbert Hoover took the step of effectively ending all immigration to the United States in 1932, to protect American labor during the Great Depression. Between 500,000 and two million Mexicans were repatriated during this time, some voluntarily, some through force or coercion. Immigration from 1931 to 1940 stood at a total of 528,000, or fewer than 53,000 annually.

Chinese exclusion laws were repealed in 1943, with discrimination against Filipinos and Indians repealed in 1946. Each received a quota of 100 per year.

In 1952, due to the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, immigration quota numbers were based on the 1920 census, and for the first time, all racial language was removed from the American immigration code. Many of the anti-subversive measures of the law are still in effect today, though the prohibition against homosexuals was dropped in 1990.

The current immigration landscape was effectively created by the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, also known as the Hart–Celler Act. It was a radical reimagining of the immigration landscape, largely at the behest of big business and its thirst for cheap labor. All national quotas were abolished and the Western Hemisphere had a quota of 120,000 imposed, with the Eastern Hemisphere limited to 170,000. Preferences were given to those with in-demand skills for the United States economy.

No one asked why we could not simply train Americans to fill these jobs. Soon the rhetoric changed and immigrants were “doing the jobs Americans wouldn’t do.” This now includes many high-tech jobs, where the lion’s share of H1-B visas go.

The other major change to American law in this bill was family reunification. This became a major priority of the bill, which is what has allowed chain migration into our nation, including terrorists such as the Boston Marathon bombers. The bill was largely sold to the American people by Senator Ted Kennedy, who promised Americans that “the bill will not flood our cities with immigrants. It will not upset the ethnic mix of our society. It will not relax the standards of admission. It will not cause American workers to lose their jobs.” Of course, the exact opposite was true – the demographic character of America was radically changed while jobs were handed out to foreign nationals. The entire bottom rungs of the employment ladder (such as domestic service jobs and day labor) were effectively given to immigrants, legal and otherwise.

The only major change to immigration law since then was the Immigration Act of 1990, which radically expanded immigration in the United States, allowing 700,000 immigrants annually. While there have been changes to immigration law since then that effectively track and trace immigrants more closely or make them jump through hoops, there are a very small minority of voices in American politics who dare to ask the simple, straightforward and common sense question – what are all these immigrants doing for America? And what cost is being paid by a loss of social cohesion resulting from mass immigration?

Natural Born Citizens and Natural Law

The legal consensus throughout history is that one of the ways one receives “natural born” American citizen status is simply by being born here, regardless of parentage. However, something that virtually everyone throughout history has agreed upon is that a “natural born citizen” is just that – natural born. That is to say, naturally born a citizen, not made one by statute. This is due to a principle largely forgotten throughout history, the notion of natural law.

Natural law is the philosophy that law is something that exists outside of the dictates of government. Under natural law philosophy, there is something called law, which just exists naturally, and something called legislation, which is what parliaments and governments come up with. In theory, natural law is supposed to be codified by parliaments into legislation and statute… but, of course, the reality is very different. The point, however, is that natural law is the law regardless of legislation. Under natural law theory, legislation declaring murder to be mandatory would be an illegal law, because murder is simply illegal by natural law, regardless of what statute says.

Natural law underpinned the Declaration of Independence. In this document, Thomas Jefferson appeals to natural law to assert the rights of American colonists as Englishmen, coming to the conclusion – using natural law – that rebellion is not only right and justified, but also necessary.

Extrapolating from this, anyone who has been made a citizen by any law – even one that explicitly declares them to be so – would not be a natural born citizen, but a naturalized one.

Why does any of this matter? Because the Founders would have been proponents of natural law, for one. What’s more, this philosophy continued to maintain intellectual sway well into the 20th century among American jurists, political philosophers and statesmen. Indeed, the 14th Amendment is predicated on codifying the citizenship of those who were already thought to be natural born citizens under natural law.

The 14th Amendment is a wordy one, but the important part for us is a single sentence: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.” The important part of this sentence is “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof.” This is the crux of what will be our discussion throughout the rest of this article.

What’s more, natural law is important because, under it, the United States is not claiming other citizens as its own. Indeed, Section 1992 of the U.S. Revised Statutes of 1866 put it plainly that the citizens of other nations are not claimed, no matter where they are born: “All persons born in the United States and not subject to any foreign power, excluding Indians not taxed, are declared to be citizens of the United States.”

This is an important point, as America again revisits the question of natural born citizenship in a global age. There is a strong argument to be made that those born in the United States to those practicing “birth tourism” are not natural born citizens and thus require naturalization. What’s more, there is the question of what citizenship claims the children of those in the country illegally would have – other nations would certainly have a citizenship claim on them. Thus, “birthright citizenship” as it is commonly understood is likely against the principles of natural law, as well as American statute.

It’s easier than ever to come to the United States simply for the purpose of having a child, and thus, an American citizen in the family. Once this is done, it is possible to chain migrate the entire family over to the United States. This makes a mockery of our borders and a mockery of our sense of national identity. Whatever the Founders – or even Ted Kennedy for that matter – wanted out of our immigration laws, it certainly wasn’t that.

For better or for worse, throughout history, natural law has always understood a child as inheriting the citizenship of their father, not their mother.

Jus Soli vs. Jus Sanguinis

Part of the debate are the twin concepts of jus soli and jus sanguinis.

First, jus soli. This is the concept that citizenship comes from the land and it is the norm throughout the Western Hemisphere. It was also largely the principle in English common law, which forms the background of American jurisprudence. In the modern era, it is an effective prevention against people being born stateless if they are simply afforded the citizenship of the nation in which they live.

However, even this is not the open door birthright citizenship that most think of. Even in places where jus soli is the law of the land, there are generally requirements people have to meet for them to qualify for citizenship on this basis. Indeed, Ireland, the last country in Europe to have a totally unrestricted jus soli law, modified its statute in 2004, with the explicit intention of preventing birth tourism.

By contrast, jus sanguinis is citizenship by blood. Most modern jus sanguinis laws require that one or both parents be citizens of a country for their children to enjoy citizenship of that nation. What’s more, the citizenship can follow the parents to where they are. For example, if a child of Hungarian parents is born in Sweden, that child enjoys Hungarian citizenship. Even the United States has a form of jus sanguinis in that the children of American citizens born abroad are citizens at birth, though it is contested whether or not this means “natural born” or “naturalized at birth.”

The American government can take jus soli very seriously, especially when it is politically or economically convenient for it to do so. For example, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had to renounce his United States citizenship when the IRS came knocking on his door to collect taxes on a London apartment that he sold. Johnson was born in the United States to two British nationals and lived here for less than six months before they returned to the United Kingdom. The United States is one of the few countries to demand that its citizens pay taxes not only on what they earn in the country, but also on what they earn abroad.

Obama’s Not the First: Contesting Electability on “Natural Born Citizen” Grounds

Almost every president was born in the United States, of two parents who were also born in the United States. The exceptions are Andrew Jackson, the only president with two parents born outside of the United States, neither of whom were citizens of the United States. Jackson was born (we think) in the Carolinas to two Presbyterian settlers from Northern Ireland. Chester A. Arthur and Barack Obama are the only presidents with one parent who was a non-U.S. citizen; Arthur’s father was born in Ireland, and Obama’s father was born in Kenya. Four more presidents (James Buchanan, Woodrow Wilson, Herbert Hoover and Donald Trump) had one parent who was a U.S. citizen born outside of the United States. Additionally, Al Gore was born in Washington, D.C., which is not a state, and Charles Curtis, Herbert Hoover’s Vice President, was born in the Kansas Territory.

Democratic Party opponents of Chester A. Arthur often accused him of being born in Canada, but there was no evidence ever presented of this. While he was born in Vermont, very close to the Canadian border and his parents met in Canada, there is nothing to this day that substantiates the claim.

Charles Evans Hughes, who would later become the 11th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, was accused of being ineligible a month after being narrowly defeated by President Woodrow Wilson. This was on the grounds that, because he was born in the United States to two British subjects who never naturalized, that he was a “native born,” but not a “natural born” citizen, this distinction once again becoming relevant.

It was widely discussed that Barry Goldwater was born in Arizona three years before it became a state, but nothing of substance ever came out of it. No serious candidate for the office of the president was born in any of the sovereign territories outside of the United States that eventually became states, such as the Republic of Texas or the Green Mountain Republic.

George Romney and Lowell Weicker were both born outside of the United States to American parents, but again, nothing much came of this at the time.

Closer to today, in the 21st century, in 2008 – but not 2000 – John McCain had his eligibility officially challenged in a lawsuit filed by Fred Hollander. McCain himself claims that he was born in the Panama Canal Zone, which was an unincorporated territory of the United States, and thus not the same as being born in an incorporated territory such as the Kansas or Arizona Territories. Others have alleged that McCain wasn’t born in the Canal Zone at all, but in the Republic of Panama. While his parents were both U.S. citizens, the crucial question is whether or not he was a natural born citizen or retroactively naturalized at birth by statute. The official documentation at the time declared that children born in the Canal Zone were American nationals, but not American citizens. Rogers v. Bellei found that children born to American parents outside of the United States are not, in fact, automatically declared citizens, though they might be if other requirements are met.

Barack Obama was widely believed to have been born in Kenya, not the United States, in large part probably due to his own statements on the matter – both a former literary agent and a college yearbook declared that he had been born in Kenya. However, his birth certificate has been seen and a newspaper birth announcement would have been very difficult to retroactively fake. Every legal challenge to his candidacy ended in failure and, of course, he served two terms as America’s drone bomber in chief and the best weapons salesman alive.

Ted Cruz was born in Canada to an American mother and a Cuban father who later naturalized. There has been much disagreement about whether or not Ted Cruz was a natural born American citizen, with everyone from Harvard Law scholars to perpetual Obama citizenship challenger Orly Taitz declaring that they did not believe he was eligible, but many other eminent legal scholars believing that he was. Several of his 2016 primary challengers questioned his eligibility. There have been a number of legal challenges to his ballot status, all of them unsuccessful.

Both Marco Rubio and Bobby Jindal’s candidacies were challenged on the basis that, while they were born in the United States, neither of their parents were citizens at the time, bringing us back to the potential distinction between being “native born” and “natural born” citizens. Once again, lawsuits were filed, but none were successful at getting either man removed from the ballot. Similar questions were raised about Kamala Harris, but no legal challenges were mounted. Harris dropped out before a single vote was cast.

Tulsi Gabbard represented a situation similar to that of John McCain. She was born in American Samoa, an American territory where children born do not automatically acquire American citizenship. Both her parents were U.S. citizens at the time of her birth.

Mostly in response to the controversy surrounding Barack Obama’s birth, two states, Georgia and Missouri, introduced bills requiring candidates to prove either citizenship (in the case of Georgia) or natural born citizenship (in the case of Missouri) to be eligible for ballot access in the state. Neither of the bills was passed into law. Other states saw bills requiring birth certificates for ballot access introduced including Connecticut, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas. None of these states saw the bills become law.

On the flip side of things, Hawaii, the birthplace of President Barack Obama, passed a law allowing the state to ignore repeated requests for the same document, probably in response to frivolous requests for Barack Obama’s birth certificate.

Birthright Citizenship vs. Natural Born Citizenship

The term “natural born citizen” is often conflated with birthright citizenship, the latter being a probably erroneous idea that anyone born on United States soil is automatically a citizen and a natural born one at that.

The 14th Amendment represents the legal bedrock of the claim that anyone born within the borders of the United States is a citizen. But the express intention of the 14th Amendment is to grant American citizenship to freed slaves and their descendents. Even Native Americans, who were subject to tribal authority, weren’t considered to be American citizens until much later.

The notion that anyone who is born here is granted citizenship, regardless of jurisdiction or other citizenship, is effectively a form of open borders.

The claim is this: In the language about to whom natural born citizenship applies, “subject to jurisdiction” means anyone under the jurisdiction of U.S. laws. This, of course, applies to anyone who happens to be in the United States at any given moment. But this is where the other clause comes into play: “not owing allegiance to anybody else.” What’s more, Senator Jacob Howard of Michigan explicitly said that those were excluded who were “born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, [or] who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers.”

This excludes a significant percentage of alleged American citizens born in the United States – because if there is another jurisdiction involved, they are not born American citizens at birth and must be naturalized, just the same as if they were born in their own country. Birthright citizenship is, in practice, in the words of Constitutional scholar Edward Erler, “a magnet for illegal immigration.”

More than anything, the amendment was to give citizenship to freed slaves as well as establish the supremacy of the federal government in terms of citizenship. This is because, using the precedent established in the Dred Scott case, states argued that they had the right to decide who was and was not a citizen and that freed black slaves were not citizens. Dred Scott was arguably the event that set the nation on an irrevocable path toward civil war. However, even after the War Between the States, it remained the law of the land. Thus, a Constitutional Amendment was required to change that law.

This also means that the claim that opposition to birthright citizenship is “racist” is spurious indeed. The entire purpose of the 14th Amendment is to grant citizenship to black Americans. Even Democrats such as Harry Reid agreed with the sentiment in 1993, when he introduced a bill into the United States Senate to end birthright citizenship, but it has increasingly become an article of faith among Democrats in the United States that America belongs to the entire world rather than just Americans.

Bills clarifying what “natural born citizenship” means, largely at the expense of foreign “paper citizens,” are introduced into every Congress, but don’t get far.

Changing the Landscape

All told, there are between 300,000 and 400,000 children born in the United States to illegal aliens every year. This is approximately 8 percent of all births in the United States. Approximately four million children of illegal aliens were living in the United States in 2009, with an additional 1.1 million born abroad to illegal alien parents.

So how would we go about changing the landscape of birthright citizenship in the United States? The good news is that because this is a simple matter of statute, it can also be changed as a simple matter of statute. There is no need for a Supreme Court decision or a Constitutional Amendment at this time.

It’s true that such a statute would be legally contested – what isn’t in a world where anyone can go running to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals? But the fact that court shoppers would flock to their favorite grievance court is no reason to not attempt to clarify what is already the law of the land: that not everyone who happens to be born on American soil is an American citizen.

The bad news is if there is bipartisanship on one subject in America, it is on open borders. The Democrats like the reliable voter bloc and both parties like the cheap labor. More good news is that there is nothing preventing the president of the United States from issuing an executive order on the matter and seeing how it plays out in the courts. Indeed, President Donald Trump has suggested that he would do just that.

Birthright citizenship as it currently exists presents two problems: First, a decline in social cohesion. In Bowling Alone, much to his dismay, Robert D. Putnam found that there was no greater indicator of low social trust than a large immigrant population. But we are also degrading the meaning of citizenship. As America grants citizenship to anyone capable of crossing a border, we are allowing massive foreign influence in our elections and sliding deeper into the realm of tyrannical pure democracy.

Any attempts to brand opponents of birthright citizenship as “racists” are foolish for a number of reasons. Birthright citizenship was originally for freed black slaves, but no group of people have suffered more thanks to mass migration than black Americans. No other group would benefit more from a more robust and restrictive immigration regime.

Unfortunately, President Trump suggests a lot of things and this was one that went nowhere. But an executive order clarifying who is and is not a natural born citizen would go a long way. While it might not settle the question from a legal or philosophical standpoint, it would force federal agencies to distinguish their treatment of natural born citizens and everyone else.

Natural Born Citizens: Understanding Who Can Be POTUS in a Nation Beset By Divided Loyalties originally appeared in The Resistance at Ammo.com.

 

 

Constitutional Republic vs. Pure Democracy: How the U.S. Election Process Has Changed

Constitutional Republic vs. Pure Democracy: How the U.S. Election Process Has Changed

“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Conservatives are generally quick to point out that America is a republic, not a democracy. But what really is the difference, and are they even right?

Voting in America has changed considerably since the days of our founding. Back then, the government didn’t even print official ballots. Instead, you got ballots from the candidate who wanted your support. Sometimes voting took place in public, so everyone knew who you voted for. And, of course, the franchise was largely restricted to white, male property owners.

Now, anyone who turns 18 can vote. And the Democratic Party wants to increase ballot access by automatically registering anyone who gets a driver’s license. Democrats even pushed for mail-in ballots for the 2020 election to make voting even easier – and more open to voter fraud. But is any of this a good thing?

Indeed, it is worth considering the transformation of the United States from a Constitutional Republic, ruled by law with the input of the people, to a total democracy, where the will of the people dominates all other discussion.

A Brief History of the Franchise in America

Open up your pocket Constitution and find the part where it says who can vote and who can’t. You’ll come up short. That’s because the Constitution delegates this right to the states. And while there are some amendments that, for example, say states can’t restrict the franchise on the basis of race, gender or being over the age of 18, otherwise there is broad leeway given in terms of who can vote and who can’t.

Before the United States existed, people were still voting and there were oftentimes even more restrictions in place. Property qualifications were most common, but there was often also a religious test involved. For example, Plymouth Colony required that voters be “orthodox in the fundamentals of religion,” which would have likely excluded even Catholics from voting. Indeed, Catholics, Quakers and Baptists were frequently forbidden from voting in early colonial elections. (Jews were forbidden from state office in Maryland until 1828, because of a state law requiring affirmation of belief in an afterlife.)

One of the first laws drafted by the new nation was a process for people to become citizens and thus be able to vote in places where citizenship was a requirement to do so – and indeed, citizenship was not a requirement in many states or colonies in the early days of America. While only “natural born” citizens can become president, naturalized citizens enjoy the full benefits of the franchise. There is still much debate as to what qualifies as a “natural born” citizen, and it’s worth noting that several recent major party presidential candidates were not born in the United States – most recently Tulsi Gabbard (who was born in American Samoa) and Ted Cruz (who was born in Canada). The Republican nominee in 2008, John McCain, was born in the Panama Canal Zone. The last of these was the most problematic, as Downes v. Bidwell ruled that unincorporated territories were explicitly not the United States.

While it is easy to ascribe this to petty religious bigotry, the reason is actually somewhat more profound: The colonists and the colonial governments that they formed considered it important to only allow the franchise to people who shared their values. Thus, those with heterodox religious beliefs were not allowed to vote on the grounds that doing so would undermine both the values and the liberty of the colony.

Similarly, property holders were meant to be the main voters for the simple reason of having skin in the game. The early colonists did not want, for example, the merchant class to have an outsized say in politics because they were not tied to the land and thus not as subject to bad decisions. A shopkeeper or importer can simply sell their stock and move on to the next colony. A freeholder, working the land with his family, has far less flexibility and, the theory goes anyway, would be making more long-term decisions about what is best for the polity.

What this meant, also, is that, in places like New Jersey, women were allowed to vote until 1807, provided that they could meet the property requirement. What changed in the early 19th century, under the expansion of the franchise under Jacksonian Democracy, was that race and gender were prized more than property rights. But free blacks still had the right to vote in some Northern states until 1838.

This too was not an arbitrary distinction. Men who had been veterans of the War of 1812, or at the very least, defended their community against Indian raids, believed that they were entitled to the franchise on the basis of that service. By 1856, free white men were allowed to vote without meeting any property requirements, but five of the states still kept tax requirements (frequently a poll tax) in place. Again, this makes sense: The force of government is largely about the spending of taxes and the use of the military.

By 1856, all property requirements had been lifted, but tax requirements remained in place in Rhode Island and Pennsylvania, until the 20th century. Rhode Island had what was basically a brief, low-level civil war over the question of property requirements known as the Dorr War. Indeed, anytime that post-Civil War disenfranchisement is discussed, it must include a discussion of the disenfranchisement of poor whites as well. The Battle of Athens is a fascinating tale of World War II veterans returning from battle and refusing to be shafted at the ballot box anymore.

Of the 15 Constitutional Amendments passed since the Civil War, four involve the franchise. The 15th Amendment bars states from restricting the franchise on the basis of race, the 19th from restrictions on the basis of gender, the 24th bars any tax requirements, and the 26th bars any age restrictions against those over the age of 18. Another Amendment, the 17th, allows for the direct election of senators, rather than having them elected by the respective state legislature – another expansion of pure democracy in America, though not an expansion of suffrage per se.

The previous method of electing senators, having them appointed by the respective state legislatures, was not an oversight on the part of the Founders. Rather, this was to give a voice to the state governments in the federal government. This was seen as an important safeguard against the overreach of federal power. Among other things, the Senate was a check on a power-hungry federal government seeking to put its tentacles into anything it could. It was a form of distributed power that was yet another attempt by the Founders to prevent consolidation and centralization of government.

It’s worth noting that Western states, starting with Wyoming in 1869, were granting women the right to vote, largely as an enticement to get them to move to the region, which was seriously devoid of women.

The concept of “one man, one vote” is the cornerstone of a more pure democracy. There were three decisions of the Earl Warren Supreme Court that definitively transformed the landscape of America into a democracy:

  • Baker v. Carr found that federal courts had jurisdiction over state redistricting efforts.
  • Wesberry v. Sanders found that U.S. House of Representatives districts – whose borders are determined by state governments – must be roughly equal in population.
  • Reynolds v. Sims found that state legislature districts must be roughly equal in population, regardless of chamber. This effectively means that states are not allowed to have institutions like the Senate – for example, a state government cannot give each county two seats in the state legislature if the counties do not have roughly the same population size.

Residency requirements are mostly illegal in the United States, with one-year requirements struck down in Dunn v. BlumsteinThe longest residency requirement that states are allowed to have now is 50 days.

What’s So Wrong With Democracy?

All of this raises the question of what is wrong with democracy, as opposed to a Constitutional Republic? It’s a cliche that democracy is the right of 51 percent of the population to take away the toothbrushes of the other 49. The Constitution provides protections against the tyranny of the majority and one of those protections is against pure democracy.

Indeed, the Senate and Electoral College, two of the last vestiges of the anti-democratic mood that penetrated the country during Revolutionary times, provide protections to rural states to this day. Without either of these, or with a Senate converted into a proportional representation body, as some have suggested, rural states are effectively political serfs for the larger urban centers.

The counter argument presented to this is that “land doesn’t vote,” which is fair enough, but again: America was not conceived as a pure democracy where everyone had an equal say in everything. There are many layers to the onion, many tiers that prevent one group of the population from having too much say over the others. The Electoral College and the Senate allow rural states to have a voice in how the country is run, rather than being totally ruled over by people in urban centers who don’t own guns, can’t grow food, and have never met their neighbors.

It’s not a coincidence that Electoral College abolition is a particular ax ground by the left. The abolition of the Electoral College would allow for sweeping changes in American public policy championed by those currently on the leftward edge of the political spectrum. Do you want to live in a country where, for example, the voters of smaller states like Nevada, New Hampshire and Montana are drowned out by a handful of cities on the coasts? What of medium-sized states with a number of post-industrial cities with their own concerns, just as valid as those of rural America, but entirely separate from the centers of financial, cultural and academic power?

There’s also the small matter of the role that the media plays in shaping public opinion, as well as the role that public works projects and other government spending play in essentially buying votes. Ostensibly “undemocratic” institutions act as brakes on the manipulation of public opinion. Indeed, the Senate was specifically designed as a deliberative body that would “cool the passions” of the masses represented in the lower house, the House of Representatives.

The Primary System as a Laboratory of Democracy

The primary process for nominating presidential candidates represents an excellent example of how pure democracy has produced poorer results than a more managed and directed one.

Most Americans, particularly younger ones, don’t know that prior to the 1970s, the primary contests didn’t mean much. Rather, it was the state party conventions which held greater weight and these were largely managed by party bosses rather than directly influenced by voters. It’s not that this system of backroom wheeling and dealing never produced a total dud or stifled genuine needs for reform – of course it did. However, looking at the roster of candidates produced by this process (i.e., two Roosevelts, a Coolidge, an Eisenhower and a Kennedy), it’s hard to argue with the results.

What was entirely lacking was the current primary process that we have in the United States, which still boasts a very low overall turnout and lasts from approximately the fourth quarter of the year before the election sometimes all the way up until the convention. All told, the Democratic Primary cycle of 2020 had 12 debates planned, with 11 completed and the 12th not happening simply because Joe Biden said he wasn’t going to show up.

The primaries are dominated by highly motivated and often highly ideological voters. This means that a number of highly polarizing figures have made it through the modern primary process, including Barry Goldwater (1964, so a little early) and George McGovern, but also a ton of people who the party in question loved but Americans just plain didn’t like (examples of this being Walter MondaleMichael Dukakis and Mitt Romney). This is because party bosses were much more concerned about someone who could win – and all the patronage that flowed from that – rather than someone who shared their ideological picadillos.

President Eisenhower is perhaps the gold standard of a president annointed by party bosses. Senator Robert Taft, the leading light of the ideologically conservative faction of the party, lost to the choice of the party bosses, General Dwight D. Eisenhower. While historical counterfactuals are hard to tease out, there’s little reason to believe that Senator Taft could have won a general election against President Truman or eventual nominee Senator Adlai Stevenson. This is because, while there was a big thirst to roll back the whole of the New Deal among the hardcore Republican base, there was virtually no taste for it in the American mainstream, which either liked the programs or had learned to live with them. Indeed, it is largely believed that the delegates themselves might have preferred Taft to Eisenhower – but they preferred Eisenhower to losing.

It’s worth noting that in the last two Democratic primaries, party bosses have leaned heavily on the scale against insurgent candidate Bernie Sanders in favor of, respectively, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. In contrast, Donald Trump was able to coast to the nomination in 2016 without any significant organized chicanery on the part of the party bosses.

But it’s not just political parties who lose when American presidential candidates are the result of a process catering to a very small niche of the electorate. America loses also, because we are incapable of having substantive, issue-driven debates that address real problems of the American people. Instead, we end up focusing much more on the personalities and cultural differences that divide the two parties – to the detriment of the entire nation.

Election Fraud in the United States

There is dispute as to whether or not there is widespread election fraud in the United States. However, there are three presidential elections that merit a brief discussion in our exploration of the franchise in America.

The 1876 Election

The election of 1876 was so controversial and potentially fraud-ridden that it was the subject of a Congressional Electoral Commission in response to a major Constitutional crisis. There were 20 electoral votes outstanding, with the Democratic candidate one shy of winning, with the 20 outstanding electoral votes all coming from states with potentially massive voter fraud. The Commission was convened by the Democratic House and the Republican Senate, with five members from each body and five from the Supreme Court of the United States.

One of the tricks in question is actually an exploit of pure democracy: In those days, there were no official ballots. Ballots or “tickets” were generally printed up by political parties or their partisans and distributed to the voters. Southern Democrats used ballots with Abraham Lincoln on them in an attempt to fool illiterate voters into voting for their slate.

“Tilden or Blood!” was a slogan at the time and Democratic candidate Samuel Tilden’s supporters declared that they had 100,000 men ready to march on the capital and install him as president if need be. A party-line vote of the Electoral Commission gave all the votes to Republican Rutherford B. Hayes, making him president. However, as a concession, the South got the end of Reconstruction and the withdrawal of all remaining federal troops.

Democrats remained unsatisfied, with the House of Representatives going as far to pass a non-binding resolution declaring Tilden the winner. The Electoral Count Act of 1887 made the state legislature the definitive arbiter of who counted as an elector, which was the subject of Bush v. Gore, another controversial election over 100 years later.

The 1960 Election

The 1960 election was disputed as well, but not formally and officially like in 1876. The claim is this: That the Democratic Party used friendly city machines in Dallas and Illinois to win states for John F. Kennedy that he otherwise would not have won – and that would have delivered the presidency to Republican Richard Nixon.

This is not a marginal theory. Senators such as Everett Dirksen and Barry Goldwater have stated that they believe there was fraud in the election. All told, Republicans in 11 states sought to have the vote overturned, including in Illinois and Texas. A special prosecutor charged 650 people with voter fraud, but there were no convictions.

It is unknown to what degree Nixon felt he had been cheated, but he never seriously pursued it, believing it would divide the nation and tarnish the office of the presidency.

The 2000 Election

Finally, there is the 2000 election, where chicanery is alleged to have taken place not at the ballot box, but at the Supreme Court. It was the Supreme Court who stopped the recount under the Equal Protection Clause because they did not approve of how the recount was being carried out. Further, a new standard could not be agreed upon because of the time frame – electors had to be selected by December 12.

This allowed a previous vote count certified by Secretary of State Katherine Harris (a Republican and Bush family ally) to stand.

Here the question was not about whether or not someone was ballot-box stuffing. No one has seriously or credibly proposed this. What was in question is how the votes were counted. This calls to mind an apocryphal quote often attributed to Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin:

“The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.”

Several have written that if a statewide recount were done, rather than a county-based one, that it was Vice President Al Gore who would have won. But the question here is what was the best way to count the votes. And unsurprisingly, partisans of both parties prefer the method resulting in their candidate winning.

Beyond the Theory: Why Pure Democracy Is Bad In Its Execution

Once the notion of a universal franchise enters the public vernacular, there is then no limit on who should be included. Andrew Yang became the first major party presidential candidate to endorse lowering the voting age to 16, but others have endorsed removing age requirements for voting entirely. Indeed, there is an entire current of thought that says that citizenship shouldn’t be a requirement (it isn’t in some municipal elections) or even that the entire world should be allowed a say in who becomes the President of the United States.

While these might all sound like ridiculous proposals – and we agree that they are – they are the thin edge of the wedge, the tip of the spear that will eventually introduce this kind of discourse into the political mainstream and perhaps much sooner than anyone thinks. If the only criteria for who gets to vote is that you are “affected by government policy” or some such and thus entitled to a say, why not let the entire populations of France and Bangladesh and China have a vote? There is a logic to universal suffrage that does not end with America’s adult population or even at its borders.

Consider the fight against voter ID laws in the United States. When one accepts that voting is a universal right, it makes perfect sense that having or not having an ID shouldn’t be an impediment to exercising that right. A lack of voter ID laws has been tied to voter fraud. But perhaps more disturbing is the growing practice of ballot harvesting.

Ballot Harvesting

The Democratic Party likes ballot harvesting so much that they tried to insert it into the stimulus and relief bill targeted at people suffering from the effects of the Wuhan Coronavirus outbreak of 2020. Put simply, this is when paper ballots are collected by intermediaries between the state and the voter, then delivered en masse. If this sounds like it’s a ripe place for voter fraud to happen, that’s because it is. Ballot harvesting played a role in the do-over of the 2019 North Carolina election, where Democrats were, perhaps for the first time ever, deeply concerned with the specter of voter fraud.

Orange County, California, was home to a whopping quarter million ballots delivered on Election Day alone. In practice, ballot harvesters go around collecting ballots for people who vote for the candidate they want to win. In the case of North Carolina, there were allegations that ballots had been discarded because people voted for the “wrong” candidate.

In the wake of the Wuhan Coronavirus outbreak, there has been a push – mostly from Democrats – to offer mail-in ballots. These are different from absentee ballots, which are sent out to specific voters on a by-request basis. Compare this with the push for mass mail-in voting: This is just printing up a ton of ballots, sending them out and letting everyone mail them in. There are few, if any, protections in place for preventing people from voting twice, preventing non-registered voters from voting, or preventing illegal aliens from voting. For every person who votes that shouldn’t, a legal voter has their vote cancelled out or nullified.

There’s not much of a way to verify and track this process to ensure that everyone who votes is having their vote counted. But again, it is very much in keeping with the logic of “one man, one vote.” Those who espouse the ideology of a pure democracy are always looking for ways to make it easier for people to vote.

Perhaps, not coincidentally, making it easier for people to vote also opens up the door to electoral fraud.

And this is really the crux of the matter when it comes down to pure democracy: The transition to a purer democracy has coincided with greater influence among unofficial kingmakers who control the process while also consolidating greater power in Washington, D.C. In practice, this has meant favoring a bureaucratic elite who effectively act as unelected legislators. Most of the regulations put in place by the alphabet soup of federal agencies aren’t there by statute, but are in fact part of powers delegated to them by the legislature who have abdicated their legislative authority.

What’s more, these unofficial kingmakers are often shadowy figures whose names (to say nothing of their intentions) are mostly unknown. These are not the traditional party bosses who were, in a sense, beholden to their people in the form of having to provide patronage and pork and other tangible results. Rather the new kingmakers of our pure democracy are the mass media, party activists and others with no skin in the game and little in the way of public accountability. Their angle is one entirely of self-interest and not to the broader body politic, to say nothing of future generations.

Constitutional Republic vs. Pure Democracy: How the U.S. Election Process Has Changed originally appeared in The Resistance Library at Ammo.com.

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