Given the ever-widening and fragmented divisions in a society gripped in revolution, I guess this should be no surprise….
Where to start this tale? For simplicity, a return to 2008 and the financial crisis. I found myself on the side of those who contacted congress to vote against TARP. I remember Maria Bartiromo, then on CNBC, whining to the camera, “come on people…”, blaming the people for being against bailing out the institutions that, after the Federal Reserve and federal government, were most responsible for the financial calamity then realized.
After going down in defeat, the real arm-twisting began in congress, and the TARP bill was passed on the next vote – despite overwhelming public opposition (I recall 80% - 90% or more calls to congress against).
Even though by this time, September 2008, the media had done its job of burying the Ron Paul presidential campaign, it was clear that this uprising by voters reflected the economic views advocated by Ron Paul.
Not that many of these same voters appreciated some of Paul’s other views at the time…. I was firmly against the earlier invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, and it wasn’t clear that these notions were shared by those who also were against the TARP bailout. Many booed Paul when he spoke of the adventurism of US foreign military action.
Shortly thereafter, Occupy Wall Street. Whatever the origins of this events, I understood and sympathized with the objective.
What camp did this all place me in? Certainly, my views were influenced by the non-aggression principle, but the divisions in society were not yet nearly as clear as they are today.
However, the signs were already there, even before TARP and Occupy Wall Street. Barack Obama first verbalized the divide he worked so hard to thereafter create, when, in April 2008 on the campaign trail, he offered:
And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.
So, he dumped on the workers who had lost their blue-collar jobs, he dumped on gun owners, he dumped on those concerned about unchecked immigration, and he dumped on religious people (and clearly this meant Christians). Obama’s statement perhaps most clearly describes the divide in America today – but not quite all of it. And I was on the wrong side.
But, again, this didn’t really make clear my place – as war and military worship didn’t quite fit into my picture. Many of those same people who were clinging to their guns and religion worshipped the military, went to churches on Sunday that sang military songs and paraded the US flag. I wasn’t on their side. But even the left was no longer protested the wars, not once Obama was warmonger-in-chief.
Picture my ever-shrinking intersection in the Venn Diagram of all US residents….
Basically, this divide remained stable but grew more secure through Obama’s term in office, now starting to offer clear evidence of the addition of the rainbow. In the 2016 election campaign, Hilary Clinton labeled Trump supporters a basket of deplorables.
“You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right?” Clinton said. “The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic—you name it. And, unfortunately, there are people like that. And he has lifted them up.”
Clinton completed the picture of the divide, to ensure inclusion of the rainbow. Now, she noted that many of his supporters wanted a change, but this didn’t clean the stink of her larger comment – and she didn’t really want it cleaned up.
Again, having sympathy with the Trump message – so much of it was Ron Paulian, but delivered with bombast – that I could relate. Trump was against many foreign wars, against the Fed, he was for the working class, etc. In other words, he was for those against the 2008 bailouts and against all of the job losses – those whom Obama targeted. They found someone who spoke for them.
It was here, with Trump’s victory, that the divide was supercharged. Throw in thirty years or so of destroying the minds of university students, and we have a divide that has been clearly examined by many. I will point here to Angelo Codevilla:
We have stepped over the threshold of a revolution. It is difficult to imagine how we might step back, and futile to speculate where it will end. Our ruling class’s malfeasance, combined with insult, brought it about.
The ruling class had its soldiers, trained in the universities: those on the intersectional, rainbow flag bandwagon. They were the most rabid covidions; they were the mostly peaceful rioters in the summer of 2020; they hung the black lives matter signs on their lawns; they were the ones who saw insurrection in the events of January 6, 2021; they put up Ukrainian flags.
I was on the opposite side on these issues, but my side was ever-shrinking. Of course, with each one of these events, a few more of my compatriots were sheared off. Just to consider one example: Christian churches – those who cling to their religion, their Bibles – those with whom I might have felt some level of brotherhood a decade before.
Many churches took the side of the rainbow flag, they supported black lives matter, they gladly shut down their churches during covid, they sided with Ukraine. All the while, they kept cheering on war.
But then came October 7, 2023. I need not cheer on everything done by Hamas to find myself on the side of those who see what Israel is doing in Gaza as genocide. This distances me from many of the deplorables with whom I have much in common (including a large swath of churches that otherwise hold to the traditional values I share), and it places me with those foot soldiers of the ruling class with whom I share almost nothing.
While I know that the term doesn’t offer answers on the edges, where I have fallen on each of these issues I think is well-grounded in the non-aggression principle. My views are further refined by positive natural law ethics and understandings.
Not that all self-identified libertarians are on the same page on these matters. One, a very popular and well-known libertarian who argued persuasively against all covid talking points, acted in private quite differently than he spoke in public. Another argued why, in theory, forcing a jab onto unwilling recipients could be allowed under the NAP, and the same one is a big cheerleader for the current genocide.
But the sliver of the intersection in the Venn Diagram that I occupy and I have clumsily attempted to portray is growing ever smaller. This issue of Israel and Gaza is shattering all sides of the divide first explained by Obama and expanded by Clinton.
I think this shouldn’t be a surprise. As has been true for every revolution, the revolutionaries agree on what they are against, but this doesn’t mean they have agreement on what they are for. And for the rest of us, this means we will find ourselves occasionally siding with some subset of the revolutionaries.
Also, like all revolutions, the coalition behind this one was sure to fracture – and we see it now fracturing big-time, with those who financially supported the universities that were teaching revolution now threatening to cut off that financial support because they don’t like the direction the revolution has taken. Here, too, I shouldn’t be surprised that I find myself, on certain issues on the side of some portion of the revolutionaries.
None, really, just observations.