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Treason and patriotism in Canada and the current-day world (Part Four)
By Mark Wegierski
It is by no means the case that only the claims to loyalty by totalitarian and authoritarian regimes are subject to question. It may be noted that some liberal democratic regimes in late modernity have evolved away from what was once the residual traditional content of their culture. There has emerged, therefore, the problem of "a tyranny from another direction", not from the far right or far left, but perhaps from "the center."
Around 1998 in the United States, there erupted a debate around a symposium sponsored by the journal First Things, edited by Richard Neuhaus. Father Neuhaus (at that time a Roman Catholic priest, formerly a Lutheran minister) had once been a close aide of Martin Luther King, Jr. However, as the U.S. situation soured over the decades, Neuhaus became increasingly rightward-leaning. The main theme of the symposium was the criticism of so-called "judicial usurpation", i.e. that the various decisions of the U.S. Courts were driving the country in a direction undesired by the majority of the population. Laws supported by enormous majorities in the country were struck down by “activist” Courts, whereas any popular initiatives to change the direction of the country, were also being immediately declared unconstitutional. In the flush of debate, some of the symposium's participants suggested that, if the popular will continued to be so manifestly blocked, perhaps armed insurrection was not out of the question.
The responses of the so-called neoconservative wing of the U.S. Right to these ideas were unreserved and ferocious. The symposium participants were accused of an "anti-Americanism" comparable to that of the Sixties' Far Left. It seemed to have escaped the notice of the neoconservatives that pointing out the apparently illiberal and undemocratic nature of the current U.S. system has been a staple of conservative ideas in the U.S. since at least the 1960s.
From a traditionalist and/or conservative standpoint, there is precious little democracy or popular will left in a regime dominated by the managerial-therapeutic system of mass-media, mass-education, mass-bureaucracy, juridical legalism, etc., which seems to be exerting all efforts to make any kind of conservatism virtually impossible. Must then even the most patriotic American offer support to this system? In the 1990s, the burgeoning so-called Patriot Militia movement might have suggested the direction where the most patriotic-minded Americans were conceptually migrating. And it may be noted that left-liberals were not unwilling to deploy the sharp coercive arm of the state (elements of the FBI, BATF, etc.) against those they considered their enemies. Ironically, when the former "Sixties' rebels" (i.e., mostly Baby Boomers), more-or-less achieved control of the government in the 1990s, including its coercive instrumentalities, far less attention was paid to "CIA/FBI wrongdoing" in that time.
Today, it could be argued that President Obama combined the continuation of George W. Bush’s “War on Terror” abroad – in order to pacify neoconservative criticism – while pursuing an increasingly radical domestic agenda. No matter how many drone strikes and bombings he ordered abroad (to the applause of the neocons), the Left also cheered him on, because it got what it wanted at home. Among Obama’s highly questionable actions in domestic policy was the choosing of and continuing support for a highly egregious Attorney-General; the enactment of what amounted to an “administrative amnesty” for illegal immigrants – in a flaunting of Congress’s unwillingness to bring in such measures through legislation; and the nomination of very divisive figures to the Supreme Court.
So one may indeed be arriving at a stage in history when one may well begin to question the legitimacy of the U.S. regime, despite its apparently emphatically democratic nature. Would the rejection of and resistance to the current U.S. regime necessarily be considered as treasonous by American patriots? What kinds of rejection and resistance may be seen as legitimate, and which as illegitimate?
To be continued.
Mark Wegierski is a Canadian writer and historical researcher.