Monday, June 29, 2009

Leonard Zeskind is Dead Wrong About the Tea Party

Leonard Zeskind has a career with notable writings in major publications. He was a community activist and is President of the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights. He has a new book out about white hate groups in America called Blood and Politics: The History of the White Nationalist Movement from the Margins to the Mainstream Many of these hate groups he investigates are using names that allege a patriotic stance. Names like National Alliance, Liberty Lobby, and the Freemen are examples. But has his views been contaminated by outside influences? influences like Left Wing radical groups? Are the organizations primarily made up of whites immediately and prejudiciously lumped into the same category as racist groups? Specifically, are groups like the 912 Group or the Tea Party recreated movements rooted in this typical hatred.

According to Zeskind, the Tea Party has become a prime example of a new movement of white power hatred. His latest article has been alluding to the fact that white hate groups view any protests performed by the Tea Party to be an opportunity for recruitment. Upon attending meetings and protests, they will ultimately be able to take the leadership positions. He writes the July 4th showing is,"...where a constellation of anti-tax, anti-immigrant, and Christian right activists and Republican conservatives are gathering their forces. Expect white nationalists to put their own star in this sky."

I am a Jew and a Tea Party Committee member for south Florida. I can tell you that we ween out any undesirables immediately upon realizing who they are. Stormfront is in our neighborhood and has never distributed material at any meetings or events of ours. The South Florida Tea Party is run by REAL grass root Americans. Real grassroots meaning citizens themselves that have taken the helm and organized. Not a well funded right wing hate group nor a billionaire radical left wing group. Just average Americans who have the same spirit our forefathers had. No one is disqualified as a member for their heritage, this is the real thing(not the Coca Cola reference)! Rich, poor, blue collar, white collar, old, young, and everything in between are members actively participating. The misguided belief that hate groups are any part of or infiltrating the party in any numbers is wrong!

The most appalling part of Mr Zeskind's article is the title, "Rereading the Tea Leaves: July 4 Protests Will Include White Nationalists." This title infers that the White Nationalists "included" have been invited as speakers or guests at the protest. This is at least misleading his readers and at the most an inflammatory fabrication.

I find the absence of hate groups like La Reza and the Black Theology aka Black Liberation aka Black Supremacy and Black Panthers in your writings. These groups infiltrate Liberal activist groups with their poisonous agenda. Where is the criticism. Where are the books about their dangerous message.

In summary, failure to recognize the spirit of America's past in organizations promoting positive values is typical of people blinded by Left Wing ideology. Both Liberal and Conservative groups have a mixed message of good points and bad. Identifying radical hate groups on both sides of the fence is a responsible message. A deliberate misguided message overstating and over exaggerating the possible infiltration of these organizations by hate groups continues to divide Americans. I invite Mr. Zeskind to join us on July 4th so he can write a tasteful and truthful article.


Friday, June 26, 2009


Well, the Democrats are preparing to pass a new tax today in order to push the green environmental agenda. The promise of NOT taxing the public at large is no longer important now that the Dems control everything. Does anyone remember Old Man Bush when he said, "Read my lips. No new taxes!" Well, now the Republicans should blast back with commercials showing public speeches by each Democrat stating no new taxes on the middle and lower classes. This passage stands to raise taxes on gas, coal, and all fossil fuels which are used by nearly everything. While technology does exist to generate energy in "green technology", the implementation of these things on a large scale is costly, requires time to construct and training to maintain, and is still improving at rates that would question whether this is the time to jump in. In detail, the bill would do the following:

Reduce aggregate gross domestic product (GDP) by $9.6 trillion
Destroy an average of 1-3 million jobs, every year
Raise electricity rates 90 percent after adjusting for inflation
Raise inflation-adjusted gasoline prices by 74 percent
Raise residential natural gas prices by 55 percent
Raise an average family's annual energy bill by $1,500 annually
Increase the federal debt by 26 percent, which is $29,150 per person

I beseech you, contact your government representatives and tell them HR 2454 must not pass.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Randian Objectivism: The Highest Form of Morality

Recently, a buddy of mine and I had a debate about martial arts and philosophy. As a former (physical) pracitioner of martial arts (now I just practice the mental aspect of it), I found the debate very interesting and wanted to memorialize it here as it also pertains to the philosophical and intellectual roots of post-WWII modern American Conservatism.

So my buddy, who is as left as you can get, but incredibly bright, suggested that martial arts, in addition to its physical benefits, had tremendous intangible benefits as well. Namely, that practicing martial arts brought out one's innate morality, specifically, one's duty to protect the weak, to help the poor, and to put society above oneself. Then, in an attempt to provoke, he asserted that a disciple of Ayn Rand would object to this "moral" magnanimity. Yes, I'm a fan of Ayn Rand, and yes, his provocation succeeded. But as I will attempt to explain, the notion that Ayn Rand was somehow immoral or against helping the poor is a common misconception. Indeed, it clearly shows that the provocateur has not read much of Rand's writings and has simply echoed popular culture's erroneous perception of Rand.

First of all, men are not born innately good. Men are born in sin and are born virtueless (inability to detect right from wrong). We are not born with knowledge and understanding of a duty to protect the weak. But this does not mean that men have no ability to develop into good men. In fact, men are born with a "moral" gene. But it is our environment - family, friends, spirituality, religion, and of course martial arts - that create a conducive environment in which our seeds of morality can sprout and develop. In turn, it changes and civilizes us for the better. Martial arts is one vehicle by which we develop away from our innate weaknesses and toward civility, honor, and virtue. Moreover, in a diverse nation like ours, morality, for good or ill, will necessarily be fluid. What is moral to me differs from what is moral to you. So when the state, which is run by men, imposes their morality onto me, a conflict could likely ensue. And of course it does all the time.

Ayn Rand battled against state-imposed collectivism and state-imposed redistribution of income. In other words, Rand battled against state imposition of morality. She certainly felt that she had a duty to protect the weak (the people) from the threat of totalitarian government and state imposition, which undoubtedly diminishes freedom in society. Freedom from oppression and state control was the highest form of morality and thus her ultimate objective. Personally, it is freedom that allows me to carry out my learned duty to stand by the weak - giving to charity, church - not the state forcing me with the threat of loss of my life and liberty and happiness if I don't comply with their conception of morality. (Of course, if we were all Burkean conservatives, our moral sensibilities would more or less be the same due to our shared appreciation for Judeo-Christian values. But I must concede that Rand was a devout athiest. But her view of what was "moral" was, again, maximum freedom fettered only by positive law, a notion that squares perfectly with Judeo-Christian values and Edmund Burke's respect for religious traditionalism.)

But even so, the rich do not have a "duty" to give to the poor or to help the indigent. And the state certainly has no mandate to force the rich to do so. But wealth is relative. I'm not rich, and comparatively, I'm also poor. But damn, I certainly don't think that Bill Gates has an obligation, a duty, to give his money to me. I'll work and make it on my own. Moreover, we may not have such a duty, but again, through experience and wisdom obtained from our environment, we develop an understanding that private charity and philanthropy - whether it's giving millions to a charity or simply tithing every week to a religious institution - benefits everyone and makes for a better society. Because, from a both selfish and altruistic perspective, it is in all our interests to maximize everyone's standard of living. But again, I emphasize, it is not the job of the government to force me to be altruistic and to help the poor.

That said, it is obviously beneficial for the rich to give back to the poor, BUT THROUGH PRIVATE CHARITY, not under the duress of the state. History shows that Americans have been and continue to be the most generous nation on earth. Our overwhelming generosity was recently exemplified by the tsunami disaster. We gave, and gave, and gave some more. (I'm drinking Ethos Water as I'm writing this.) Moreover, history has shown that with all else equal, private charity increases with the decrease in the size of the welfare state. It makes sense if you think about it. If 35% of your hard-earned income (and all the other forms of taxation) is being taken away by the government and redistributed through welfare and foreign aid, what incentive do I have to give privately? The government is doing it for me!

If you read Rand's fiction (Rand articulated her philosophy mainly through her fiction), every single antagonist is clearly portrayed as lazy, entitled, and slothful. Rand's ire was directed to such individuals. Let's be clear about this: the antagonists were not hard working, driven people. They had abundant access to opportunity. Some were heirs to great wealth who went on to waste it away (a typical result of being born into privilege). They were entitled. They were idiots. They couldn't compete with the hard-working protaganists in the realms of intelligence and productivity. They were proven failures undeserving of man's compassion (perhaps all are deserving of God's compassion.) But this idea is certainly not incongruent with morality. It is not immoral to not want to help unproductive entitled individuals especially when there are so many out there who do truly aspire to augment their greatness through merit and hard work. So martial arts teaches. And so Rand believed.

American Confucius

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Back to Our Roots: Burkean Conservatism

Today, I see two main factions warring over the label "conservatism": the traditionalists and the libertarians. Is there middle ground upon which the two sides can come together? Yes. And I will reason out my thoughts and arguments in two or three posts. For this post, I hearken back to Burkean Conservatism. In doing so, I argue that Edmund Burke and his strand of conservatism is the intellectual and philosophical forefather of post-WWII modern American conservatism. In fact, the roots of the label, "conservative", or a party of restraint, can be traced directly back to Edmund Burke.

Edmund Burke was an Irishman who rose quickly through the British political ranks. He first cut his teeth in British politics by writing for the Annual Register, an annual review of the political and cultural events of Europe. He eventually became the editor of the Register, which at that time was a highly successful and influential journal. His formal political career began when he was elected to the House of Commons where he quickly became an outspoken critic of Britain's colonial imprudence in handling the American colonies and taking focused aim at Britain's taxation of the colonies without proper representation. (Naturally, Edmund Burke and his traditionalist and libertarian philosophies were embraced by our country's founding fathers, particularly by J.Madison and A.Hamilton, evidenced by their writings in the Federalist Papers.)

But probably most notable was Burke's deep animus against the French Revolution (see book: Reflections on the French Revolution). Burke visited France in 1773 during which time he witnessed a country hobbling under serious financial problems and brimming with militant atheism. Upon return to Britian, Burke noted in an address to Parliament that "under the systematic attacks of these people, I see some of the props of good government already begin to fail..." (Reflections). Soon thereafter, mob violence in France grew and reached its peak with the mobs storming into Bastille on July 14, 1789. The Jacobins, under the leadership of Robespierre, took control and mandated that all cultural, legal, political, and religious institutions of France, including their figureheads, be immediately eradicated. (Wiki). By this point, Burke was convinced that the French Revolution was nothing like the American Revolution. The French Revolution was being driven by a force of evil.

Burke's political philosophy was based on the ancient classical and Christian moral natural law. According to Burke, this natural law provided the precepts by which rulers ruled and used their power to protect of life, liberty, and property (a very familiar idea). Burke regarded the protection of private property as essential to the maintenance of freedom in society. He viewed freedom in the marketplace as vital to a fluid and vibrant society, but he also recognized that a legal apparatus that maintained this freedom was equally necessary - you couldn't have one without the other. (see superb article: Edmund Burke and Adam Smith: Pioneers in the Field of Law and Economics) These views, boiled down, implied that rulers were held accountable to the Christian God and the natural laws, while being held accountable to his subjects through positive law (e.g. constitutional and contract laws), which, of course, derived largely from natural laws. Stated simply, virtue (quality of doing what is right and avoiding what is wrong) and freedom had to work in tandem for maximum prosperity.

Today, we see Burke's moral values, derived from the religious traditions of Christianity, embodied by our social, legal, religious, and familial institutions (although such institutions are being threatened by the sturm and drang of a growing atheistic movement). Burke favored a strong presumption in favor of the validity of longstanding institutional traditions (Christianity) and hostility to rapid unfettered change. For Burke, conserving these institutions was critical and necessary. Burke also recognized that men were born evil and that the only way man could gain virtue was largely through the religious traditions of Christianity. This appreciation of the Christian tradition coupled with maximum individual freedom (a la small government, fiscal restraint, and other contemporary libertarian positions) is essentially Burkean conservatism.

This is core idea that the Republican Party must once again unambiguously embrace. Frank Meyer, a Christian libertarian, has articulated this goal brilliantly calling it "fusionism", which I will discuss briefly in a subsequent post.

American Confucius

Friday, June 12, 2009

Miranda Rights to Foreign Detainees: The First Step to a New World Order

According to a post on The Blog of the Weekly Standard, the "Obama Justice Department has quietly ordered FBI agents to read Miranda rights to high value detainees captured and held at U.S. detention facilities in Afghanistan, according a senior Republican on the House Intelligence Committee."

That's right. Overseas FBI agents are being required to read Miranda rights to high value detainees captured in the theater of war. The first right is of course the right to remain silent. Now how the hell are you supposed to protect your country from terrorists when the first thing you tell a suspected enemy combatant is that he has a right to keep his mouth shut?

Miranda v. Arizona (1966) was a Supreme Court decision and was a corollary to Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), another Supreme Court decision. In Miranda, the Court created seemingly out of whole cloth the right to remain silent. It is no where in the U.S. Constitution. And in Griswold, the Court created the right to privacy. Again, there is no such right in our written Constitution. In both cases, the majority created a brand spanking new constitutional right by arguing that such right derived from "penumbras" and "emanations" from our Bill of Rights. Such logic is obviously a very slippery slope. But forget the merit of such rights, and whether they actually exist. That's really a discussion for another day. The Court has recognized them. They're here to stay.

Once you declare that such detainees (usually enemy combatants) are entitled to our constitutional protections, one of the implications is that now the enemy combatants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. That is surpassingly absurd not only because it adds another provision to the rules of engagement (which already severely hamstring our military), but more importantly because the necessary premise of war is that both sides are guilty of attempted and premeditated homicide! The whole point of war is to achieve victory by death and destruction of human life. There's absolutely no reason to go through a trial process to determine whether the enemy combatant is guilty.

And herein lies the fundamental problem. The system by which we adjudicate our own citizens must necessarily be different from the system by which we adjudicate foreign detainees and enemy combatants. This is because, as previously mentioned, the premise upon which an individual is detained is completely different. When a United States citizen is detained, because our Constitution applies to that individual, he enjoys the presumption of innocence. A foreign detainee does not and should not. The premise of his detention if war.

Clearly, this is another step toward "internationalization", which ineluctably means a reduction in our national sovereignty. Once we begin extending our sacrosanct Constitutional protections to foreigners, the exclusivity and sovereignty of our Constitution must necessarily go along with it piece by piece. We'll soon be welcoming the New World Order.

American Confucius

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Identity Crisis in the Conservative Movement

Conservatism in the past half century has had mixed political fortunes. The ebb and flow has often fueled acrimonious debate among those who consider themselves to be the real conservatives. The factions include traditionalists, libertarians, neoconservatives, paleoconservatives, and those who simply call themselves "conservative." We have the moderates in the northeast, the socially conservative in the south, the working class conservatives of the heartland, and the Ron Paul libertarians in the west all claiming ownership of the conservative movement, all giving their two cents as to which direction the Party should head. Such factionalization reveals, what seems to me at least, an identity crisis. What does it mean to be a conservative? What ideas, values, precepts should a conservative party espouse? Is there a common thread that can bind us all together into a strong unified party ? Complex questions require complex answers. But perhaps not. Perhaps one obvious reason for the crisis may be the lack of historical knowledge and perspective, which in turn, has led conservatism to be defined by our politics and not our intellectual superiority. The younger generation conservatives are (at least the un-apathetic ones) steeped in the political machine, but the depth stops there. (This is not to say ignorance isn't pervasive in older generations, because it is. But my indictment is aimed primarily on the future of the party.) In fact, the more I think about it, the more I become convinced that the problem is exactly that - historical ignorance and intellectual immaturity. 

Recently, I've come across profound ignorance in our current political debate, especially among my generation conservatives who appear to be fairly well educated. (Forget about the liberals - that's a problem for another day.)  It's rational ignorance at best, a permanent stupor at worst, and a serious indictment of the future leaders of conservatism in general.  I speak of folks active in Republican circles who speak adamantly about what is right and wrong with our country, who bemoan how much we've deviated from the original Republican party ideals, without having the slightest idea of the philosophical and intellectual seads that gave birth to post-WWII modern American conservatism. I've found much of the debates shallow and without knowledge of critical history. Such disregard for historical perspective is disappointing particularly when such disregard is practiced by those who take great pride in their ivy-league education.  They speak in talking points. When asked to elaborate and to articulate their historical understandings, I get aroused babble. No depth or breadth. They throw out names like Reagan, Goldwater, and labels such as economic libertarianism, fiscal restraint, party of small government. Indeed, talking points and labels serve a purpose, but the value of that purpose is only realized when they are used by those who have at least a cursory understanding of where they come from. 

A summer resolution of mine is to bone up on the contemporary origins of modern American conservatism and put pen to paper and record my knowledge and understandings. Because ultimately, it is philosophy that we lack, a historical knowledge and perspective. We don't appreciate our intellectual forefathers.  Without a clear philosophical and intellectual understanding of what it means to be a conservative, the Republican party, will continue in its current form -  a  fluid amoeba with no structure or focus.  It will remain weak, flaccid. It will remain susceptible to the lame elements of the conservative movement.  Thus, it is absolutely critical that the conservative philosophy remains constant and relevant in the minds of all conservatives. To this end, we must shave our heads and march back up to the temple, so to speak. (Well, maybe not so dramatic.) I will be posting  throughout the summer as much as time permits on classical conservative philosophy, our intellectual forefathers, and their respective magna opera that shaped modern American conservatism (e.g. Edmund Burke's Reflections on the French Revolution, Philip Reiff's Triumph of the Therapeutic, and Russell Kirk's Conservative Mind, all of which I will discuss in later posts). 

American Confucius

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Floridians for Immigration Enforcement (FLIMEN) on the Candidates for Senate 2010

A friend of mine recently asked FLIMEN who they were endorsing for the 2010 Senate Race. She provided me with FLIMEN's response (which I publish here with FLIMEN's permission):

Dear ______:
Good question. It is a wait and see for a worthwhile candidate- which unfortunately looks dismal. It should be no surprise that the Republican
party is in turmoil when they can't put up a pro-enforcement immigration candidate. The Republican Platform is good on immigration enforcement but
that has not filtered down to the pandering anti-American candidates. 
Crist has and is been adamantly pro-AMNESTY.  'Comprehensive Immigration
Enforcement' (AMNESTY) and enforcement are contradictory and mutually exclusive so Crist and other politicians who claim they are for
'Comprehensive Immigration Enforcement' AND enforcement are lying and pandering to the max.  
Rubio, to his credit, says he is against AMNESTY but none of the citizens who lobbied for the 6 six FL bills that were blocked by Speaker Rubio
believe him for a micro-second.  Martinez said he was against AMNESTY too and then launched a huge pro-AMNESTY effort. Actions speak louder than words. 
FLIMEN has intentions to get even more involved in races but likely not in the FL Senate race unless a decent pro-enforcement candidate is found.
Thanks for your interest.
Let's keep in touch. 
Dave Caulkett, VP
I'm a bit perplexed as to why they don't intend to get involved more in the Florida Senate race. They are a Florida institution. They have a clear agenda - immigration enforcement - which is likely to become a central issue in the race, if it hasn't already.  Just because they don't have the picture perfect candidate does not seem me to be a sufficient reason to stay out of the fray altogether. Their reticence strikes me as analogous to those who refused to vote because McCain was too moderate for them.  Unless the Constitution Party candidate Marshall DeRosa miraculuosly comes out as a viable contender that is "worthwhile" in FLIMEN's view, it appears at this point FLIMEN will take a seat on the sidelines for this game. 

But given Rubio's publicly-stated position on illegal immigration, and chronicled in my previous post, it seems to me Rubio is becoming a "worthwhile candidate."

At any rate, I hope they reconsider and back a candidate.  

At your service,
American Confucius

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Marco Rubio on Illegal Immigration

If you're reading this post, you probably already know generally who Marco Rubio is and his meteoric rise to a candidate for U.S. Senate. It appears that there's lots of chatter about Rubio's position on illegal immigration.  Critics argue that Rubio is pro-amnesty and equivocal on illegal immigration at best. The following is an objective compilation of the facts followed by a non-objective opinion and analysis. 

1. According to, an April 17, 2008 Miami Herald article reported that Speaker Rubio had conspired with other House representatives to stymie House bills 73, 159, 571, 577, and 821, all related to combating illegal immigration. The crux of the allegations is that Rubio had decided the bills would die even before the start of the 2008 legislative session. Moreover, Speaker Rubio failed to give his critical support of the bills so that they could make it out of the House and Senate committees and onto the floor for a vote. 

2. In a thorough interview with the Conservative Republican Alliance sometime in March of 2009, Candidate Rubio explained the circumstances. Rubio begins by saying that he does not know why the bills never made it out of the committees. Then, Rubio asserts that because a legislative session consists of only 60 days, he mandated the committees to combine the 6 bills into 1. Unfortunately, according to Rubio, the committees failed to do this and, therefore, the bills never made it out of the committees onto the floor. Essentially, Rubio points to an insurmountable procedural hurdle.  

Notwithstanding, however, in the same interview, Candidate Rubio explains, at some length, his current position on illegal immigration. Rubio claims that he is "strongly against amnesty" and illegal immigration, and that he fully supports border enforcement.  To bolster his position, Rubio reasons that rewarding illegal immigrants by legalizing them demoralizes legal immigrants and law enforcement agencies.  Rubio emphatically asserts that he will never support "blanket legalization amnesty." 

Rubio concludes with a political caveat stating that illegal immigration is a federal issue and that Republicans need to be cautious in their "rhetoric and attitude" in discussing illegal immigration because "people have come to believe that not only are we against illegal immigration, but that we actually hate the immigrant." (Rubio presumably refers to the "the immigrant" in the abstract sense.) 

3. On May 13, 2009, National Review's David Freddoso interviewed Marco Rubio. Among the issues discussed was Rubio's position on illegal immigration. Here's the relevant Q & A. 

"FREDDOSO: You'd be succeeding Mel Martinez. How would you rate his performance as senator?

RUBIO: I would just say that Mel is a friend, someone I admire and respect . . . There's nothing about Mel that I am disappointed in today. I think he's done the best he can under the circumstances. On immigration, he voted for a package I probably would not have voted for, because I believe we've got to secure the borders in our existing system first before we can even begin to have a conversation about the other elements of immigration. But I have nothing but good things to say about Mel."

4. On May 16, 2009, Miami Herald blogger Beth Reinhard reported the following:

"In response to a question about immigration, Rubio dropped his previous pleas against harsh attacks on illegal workers. He said he would not have voted in favor of the legislation - backed by Crist and Sen. Mel Martinez - that would have allowed illegal workers to earn legal status, which he called 'blanket legalization'." 

5. Last but not least, on June 2, 2009, Marco Rubio stated on The Ed Morrissey Show: "I am for securing our borders, and I am not in favor of amnesty." 

It certainly appears that Marco Rubio has had some conflicting views on illegal immigration. I'm still not sure what actually happened to the Bills back in 2008, and I'm not willing to take what the Miami Herald reports as fact. The thought that Rubio and other House reps conspired to kill the bills seem a bit far-fetched. Regardless, the possible hurdles that face a bill in the state legislature are numerous. And yes, the 60-day time frame is one of them.  During each session, legislatures work to make new laws, change old one, and essentially "clean house." It makes sense that Rubio wanted 6 bills combined into 1 for legislative efficiency. Moreover, making it out of the committees is only the first step of the long assembly process of an idea becoming law. In 2008, with the makeup of the state Senate, even if it did make it out of the committees, it is highly unlikely that it would've passed in the Senate. If the Senate wouldn't have killed it, Governor Crist certainly would have. 

Since then, Marco Rubio has been pretty clear on where he stands on this critical issue, as is evidenced by his interview with CRA, Freddoso, and Ed Morrissey. Rubio is certainly no Tancredo (which I think may be more of a good thing than bad), but he appears to have the necessary will to fight for a robust federal policy against illegal immigration. 

In all, illegal immigration is one issue, albeit a critical issue. Equally critical, however, are his positions on the role and size of government, the role of the judiciary, domestic economic policy, foreign policy, national security, and social policy, to name a few. When combined, Marco Rubio seems to be the candidate we need in that Senate seat in order to have a fighting chance against the Democrats going forward.  But again, we have about 15 months to go until the Primary election That's a long time in politics. Regardless of what your position about Rubio is now, let's try not to strangle the baby in the crib with premature judgment calls. 

Stay tuned for updates.

At your service,
American Confucius