Wednesday, December 30, 2009



(I’ll start this Post by reprinting what I had put up as Addendum 2 to my previous Post, “The Death of Common Sense”. Then I’ll develop a bit more of some trends in political philosophy that deepen the understanding of the roots of not only the Regulatory and Preventive approach to statecraft but also to the matrix of SO laws, so often touted defensively by politicians and jurists as “merely regulatory”.)

I also point out the connection between all this Regulatory/Preventive theory and the dynamics underlying the Bill entitled the International Violence Against Women and Girls Act, about which I Posted earlier this month on both this and my other site.

If ‘more government means more liberation’, then naturally – in Lenin’s sense: we have the absolute Truth, so naturally we want to see the whole world accept it – the Identity advocacies want to see that other peoples and cultures ‘get it’ just the way they do and just the way they have (however imperfectly) gotten the government to impose it here.

As always, I point out one of the politically most lethal ramifications of Identity Politics, and especially of the subset called Gender Politics: one’s selected ‘identity’ – in this case ‘gender’ – overrides all other roles and identities that an individual might have. This includes being ‘human’ – which fractures the sense of common humanity, and being a Citizen of one’s country – which fractures the sense of the polity.

You can see how quickly lethal trouble would arise for any society whose government for whatever reasons embraced full-blown Identity and Gender Politics.

I also mentioned that the ‘progressive’ and Left desire to impose the ‘liberation’ of Gender Politics upon developing nations by piggy-backing the plan on the authority of the US government would dovetail with the intensifying US tendency to expand its control over as much of the under-developed world as possible in order to maintain a place at the Great Table and remain a player in the Great Game. And that in this regard, the quite possibly destabilizing effects upon any under-developed government that tried to comply with the US vision (as the Bill would have it): a revolt by its own people who would see, far more clearly than Americans have, just how much of an assault on the warp and woof of their culture such a vision constitutes.

You know, in a way we’re back to the late 1800s: this is Great Power politics and Great Power imperialism all over again. Except that where in the 19th century such imperialistic impositions were done under the auspices of a superior Truth as embodied in religion (Christianity, most often), now in the early 21st the superior Truth is purportedly embodied in the theories of Identity and Gender Politics and those adherents and cadres who ‘get it’.

But also as in the 19th century, there are more material and murkier objectives: back then it was ‘resources and markets’, and now it’s ‘resources’ more than markets. Because America is running out of resources and also out of the productive capabilities and even the productive ethos that forms the work force that can sustain the massive efforts necessary to utilize those resources.

The imposition of Superior Truth works for the purposes of state whether it fails or succeeds. Even if it fails and is rejected by the target culture and population, and even if the target government is destabilized or even delegitimized, it works because then the US can step in with its increasingly imperial-gendarme military – which affords secure access to whatever resources (oil and natural gas especially, but also something as simple as geographic location on the Board of the Great Game) that ‘country’ controlled.


And all under the guise of bringing to those who ‘just don’t get it’ the light of Progress and Truth. Just as imperial gambits of earlier centuries were secure in their good-intention of bringing the benefits of ‘civilization’ to the ‘benighted natives’.

You can see how these Perfect Storms and monster wildfires form.

In the SO mania, the imposition of such ‘superior Truth’ (about sex offenses and the incorrigible sexual violence of ‘men’) and the permanent emergency - that ominous term, that ominous claim – that such ‘superior Truth’ creates, have resulted in the government’s attempts to control a huge segment of the population* retroactively and preventively.

But while I have often been trying to raise the clear role of the pressure toward Regulation and Prevention, and the consequent dangers to the Constitutional ethos, from the Left over the past 45 years, I want to point out here the ominous developments from the Right, especially in the era of the so-called neocon Ascendancy, building up during the Reagan years but really bursting into florid power during the two Administrations of George W. Bush.

There were ideas fuelling it; it was not a mere ‘power grab’ by uneducated and ruthless characters.

And one of the most significant streams of ideas stemmed from a German political thinker who first made his mark coming up with justifications for Hitler’s governance (you can’t make this stuff up).

Carl Schmitt (who lived a long life, from 1888 to 1985) had made his mark as a Nazi Party member and enjoyed the special favor of Herman Goring in the 1930s, when Goring functioned as second only to Hitler in the governance of Germany.

It was Schmitt’s self-appointed task to justify the “Fuhrer” state and the “Fuhrerprinzip”, the principle that the sovereign power of the government, and of its Leader**, must not be allowed to be obstructed in its vital work by the slow, obstructive processes of participatory and parliamentary democracy. (While this impatience with the slow and obstructive aspects of democratic governance was also a hallmark of the more ‘revolutionary’ approach – Leninist, Stalinist and Maoist – that so soused the Sixties’ Left in this country, Schmitt was much more directly concerned not with widespread societal and cultural change but rather with the highly focused dynamics of actual governance at the highest levels.)

Schmitt’s claim to notoriety and ‘cutting edge’ thought was that his theories overturned Hegel’s late 18th-century espousal of the Beamtenstaat, the enlightened State administered by a corps of long-serving and dedicated civil servants. In Hegel’s view, the basing of the State only on the person of an “enlightened and benevolent despot” such as Frederick the Great was not reliable; you couldn’t always be sure that the monarchical despot would be a wise man (or, in such as Maria-Theresa of Austria and Catherine the Great of Russia, a woman), and in any case no single human being, no matter how enlightened and competent, could see to the thorough administration of policies, no matter how enlightened those policies might be.

So, thought Hegel, the enlightened State would need a dense layer of competent administrators dedicated, through generations, to the implementation of the State’s policies and laws. Hegel provided the philosophical underpinning for a realm of civil servants and for a Civil Service.

To Schmitt, by the early 1920s, this resulted in a layer of ‘obstruction’ that prevented The Leader from doing whatever it took to shape and rule (and ‘save’) the country. His thought clearly supported Hitler’s visions, as Hitler began his rise in the 1920s, making mockery of the Weimar Republic and the Weimar Constitution that grounded it.

The obstructive capacity of the German civil servants became ever clearer as Hitler’s views became more widely publicized in Germany and the brutality and barbarity of those views caused the civil servants to object to what was looming up in the midst of Germany’s efforts to make its nascent democracy work in the post-World War 1 era.

Schmitt tried to be the new Hegel who would sweep away Hegel’s outmoded theories and replace them with the Leadership Principle that would provide Germany with the force, drive, and focus by which the Leader would pull it together and take it forward. Hegel, it might be said in today’s terms, ‘just didn’t get it’ and Schmitt was going to provide the intellectual and ideological thinking that should be entertained by all those who ‘did get it’. Ach.

In 1934 he went so far as to start up his own newspaper, ominously entitled ‘The German Jurists’ Newspaper”, in which he opined for the nation’s legal classes and professionals that Hitler’s Night of the Long Knives, that bloody June night in 1934 when Nazi killing squads fanned out all over Germany to kill known opponents and ‘obstructors’ against the regime. Hitler had become Chancellor in January 1933 so this was an ‘act of state’.

This act, said Schmitt, was really “the highest form of administrative law”, because in the end law is the power of the State, and the most powerful expression of the State’s power is the power to kill in order to protect the State (and, of course, the Volk, the People).

This was not against the law because the Leader himself embodies the law and is ultimately responsible for saying what the law was; his mantra was “Der Fuhrer schutzt das Recht”, the Leader (and only the Leader) defends the law.

Schmitt was captured by the Allies after the war, but refused de-nazification. Consequently, he was ineligible for academic positions but kept writing (and he would live another 40 years).

He kept hammering at the ideas he had published as early as 1921 (even before Hitler had begun his rise): the only good thing about the Weimar Republic, Schmitt opined, was that it gave the President the power to declare a state of emergency. Because, he continued, this was the very core and essence of sovereign power: the authority to say when the law was in effect and when to declare “an exception”, some period of time or area of public life where the law, by order of the sovereign power, was no longer in effect. (And you might start to see where Bush-Cheney got the idea that ultimately it is the President who says what’s right and what’s wrong, and when a law applies and when it doesn’t.)

You can see here a seed of the idea underlying the sex-offense mania: that there are times of such ‘emergency’ that the government (still the Congress here, but this was in the 1990s before Bush-Cheney) could declare ‘exceptions’ due to the ‘emergency’.

But of course, Schmitt insisted, whenever the Leader stepped outside the law, he did it for the sake of the nation – and anyway, the Leader was the law. Whatever the Leader said, was technically Law whether written down or not.

In such a situation, the sovereign authority could declare not only a state of emergency, but also what is in effect a ‘state of exception’: declaring that in this area of public affairs, the law does not apply in its usual way.

And against certain persons or groups of persons among the Citizenry. And history records what use Hitler’s Reich made of this idea.

As a current Italian political thinker, Giorgio Agamben, has noted, this leads not only to a throwback and a regression to the dynamics of ‘divine right monarchy’ and despotism, but also creates a stunning regression back to one of the more primitive elements of ancient Roman law: the homo sacer (pronounced satch-air).

In Latin the term translates simply into ‘sacred man’ (or person), but in Roman law it had a very specific meaning. A person could be declared sacer and this meant that he was no longer protected by the law, although he was still subject to obeying it. Such a person could not make sacrifices, was indeed a form of scapegoat or black-sheep within the general flock of the Roman citizenry; he could be killed, but killing him would not be ‘murder’ because he no longer enjoyed the status of Citizen or even of human. He would live (for however long he could manage it) as a sublime and solemn living example of the power of the State to withdraw its protection while retaining its authority over any individual.

It was a truly awesome display of State power, to a people who had become used to the protections of law as they had evolved in the Roman ethos.

You can see where such ideas, imported into the Beltway by neo-conservatives as they made their own climb throughout the 1980s and 1990s, could easily start to infect not only legislators (who might imagine that Congress would be ‘the sovereign power’ that could ‘declare exceptions’) but also the Executive Branch (where, in the person of the President, Schmitt would have imagined it to be).

You can see how this idea of ‘exception’ would appeal to a get-tough-on-crime mentality, giving prosecutors as well as legislators the idea that some persons and groups could be, in effect if not formally, declared to be ‘exceptions’, to be in effect if not formally, sacer.

And of course, all this bubbling brew could also be attractive to elements on the Left who were already convinced that ‘men’ were primarily nothing more than incorrigible sexual victimizers. In a sense, radical feminist thought had already declared ‘men’ to be sacer, incorrigible exceptions to the common humanity.

And the rise of ‘victimology’ and ‘victimism’, stemming from as far back as Reagan’s first administration, combined both Right and Left in those heady 1990s when the Left’s President and the Right’s Congress both eagerly sought to be-tough-on-crime.

And we all know where that went.

And Schmitt gets even worse. The sovereign authority to declare exception must be permitted to the government because it must be able to deal with ‘enemies’. The ‘enemy’, said Schmitt, is determined “existentially”; whoever is “in a specially intense way, existentially something different and alien”. Surely, the ‘sex offender’ is only a pen-stroke away from such a vision: ‘man’ and ‘incorrigibly sexually violent predator’ and insidious hunter of ‘the children’, an existential enemy of women, children, families, and public order and decency.

Government exists to wage war on such ‘enemies’. No wonder Congress is so ‘immune’ to genuine truth and facts about ‘sex offenders’; they are not a problem perhaps mistakenly construed by an overzealous legislative authority. They are, I think, creatures created by that legislative authority precisely to function as ‘existential enemies’. Sometimes I wonder: when we present legislators with truth about sex offender recidivism, are we really trying to suggest that a monster is loose to Dr. Frankenstein himself? Are we saying that the monster of Untruth is loose, and telling it to the very power that stayed up late in its mountaintop castle, stitched the thing together and turned it loose?

In his essay “The Concept of the Political”, Schmitt declares that it is primarily in its opposition to the “existential enemy” that the state and citizenry bond and remain united.

Worse, that “politics” itself is a matter of identifying your “enemy” as whoever disagrees with what you want to have or to see happen, and doing what you have to in order to reduce or eliminate the threat that such an ‘enemy’ poses to you.

An ‘enemy’ politics is death to the Constitutional vision of politics, and indeed is lethal to the Constitutional vision of the government’s relation to its Citizens.

The entire concept of homo sacer, of course, is equally lethal to the Constitutional vision of the Citizens as human beings with “inalienable rights” granted not by the government but by their very status as having been born as human beings.

But it plays right into the hands of Identity Politics and police-state government by ‘emergency’ and ‘exception’.

You don’t see much political philosophy mentioned in the media, but ideas do get around and when espoused by this or that group, whether a pressure group outside of government or a political group within government, they can wield awesome power. Especially if they are not fully understood by the Citizens.

Just so we understand.


*I speak here not only of the 600,000-plus already on SO registries nor only of the untold hundreds of thousands who are now theoretically ‘eligible’ under the Adam Walsh Act. I also speak of the shadow group of 9 times that number that are inferred to exist since – as the mantra goes – only 1 out of 10 sex crimes are reported and so there are huge numbers of un-caught ‘sex offenders’ roaming the plains and streets like the fabled buffalo. And I speak also of the entire half of the Citizenry of the male gender, since the SO mania is clearly aimed at maleness, and presumes that male sexual violence is the most significant characteristic of the entire bunch (which is a hell of a way to try to run a democracy … which may be part of the reason why the country no longer really is one in the strict and ideal sense).

**As you may well know, the German word Fuhrer translates into the English ‘Leader’. It should have been a stark warning to all Americans when after 9-11 Beltway and White House staffers began to refer to Bush as “the Leader” informally but publicly. The mainstream media, alas, chose not to notice.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


I have, again, Posted a version of this on my other site. I am including here comments in italics that are specifically keyed to the SO community.

As I like to do from time to time, I read books or court cases from a while ago in order to get a fresh take on what’s happened and is happening now.

I have just finished a 1994 book: Philip K. Howard’s “The Death of Common Sense: How Law Is Suffocating America”.*

Howard at the time was a practicing lawyer and family man, active in public affairs, teaching and lecturing and writing.

I’m not reviewing the book here, but rather selecting some of his points – made in 1994 – to look at where We are now, 15 eventful and event-stuffed years later.

If you are of sufficient years, you might want to take a moment to imagine what the country was like back then in what now seems a vanished age, yet one whose missteps – I think it will become clear – still bethump Us. And lethally so.

His main concern is the massive growth of federal regulations and regulatory law. I’d add that the government has also slid into attempting to widely and deeply extend its criminal law power as well, intervening into the lives of Citizens and the prerogatives reserved Constitutionally to the States; the most vivid example of this is an ongoing spate of sex-offender laws (built upon prior car-jacking and drug and domestic violence laws) where under the guise of unilaterally proclaiming itself a “partner” of the States the Congress has been attempting to expand its police power, under the various guises and pretexts of its Spending power, and its purported powers under the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause in the Constitution.

The matrix of SO laws is only the most recent embodiment of this ‘regulatory’ (and preventive) philosophy; and as you can imagine, the ‘regulatory’ concept not only migrates into other areas but also mutates as it does so. Nobody in the later Sixties, watching the growth of ‘regulatory’ law and its philosophy, could have imagined that it would spawn the SO mania and its matrix of the laws that bethump us now. And when I say ‘us’ I mean the entire Citizenry and not simply those, related to or concerned for those who are caught in the SO net. His particular observation is that the huge growth in regulations and regulatory law clearly seek to preclude any use of judgment and any subjectivity in the application of the regulations: the bureaucrat (and, increasingly, the jurist) is expected merely to enforce the regulation “objectively”, with no intrusion of personal expertise and judgment whatsoever.

You can see this clearly in the Adam Walsh Act scheme, where any State’s assessment and judgment as to the dangerousness of an individual is cut off by the stipulation that the mere fact of a conviction – without any further consideration or examination or deliberation or assessment – triggers inclusion in the Tier system.

He rightly sees the beginning of this approach not simply in the expansion of government regulations that date back at least to the New Deal and World War 2 but also and more importantly in this ominous insistence upon “objectivity” and the obliteration of any judgment by any human actors in the process of hewing to and enforcing regulations.

He’s on to something here. And it’s verrrry verrrry big.

He rightly locates the postwar explosion of this phenomenon in the federal approach to the South in the days of Civil Rights, now almost 50 years ago. I would say that the presumption at the time, in the later-1960s after the great achievements of the Voting Rights and Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965 respectively, was that Southerners, sunk and raised in the culture of segregation and Jim Crow, could reliably be presumed to fight the huge changes from the depths of their hearts.

They could be presumed to harbor the spirit of segregation and Jim Crow in their hearts and to resist the entire thrust and spirit of Negro civil rights. And if they were no longer going to fight through overt acts and clear acts of resistance (police and citizens and officials blocking entrance to schools, riot police and fire-hoses turned upon civil rights activists and Negroes), then they would resist subtly, subverting the laws and the spirit that the federal government sought to impose upon them.

They could, therefore, be presumed to harbor the old and bad motivations in the depths of their hearts, such that whatever they did could be presumed to be suspect; even their efforts to conform to the law and spirit of civil rights were always to be skeptically examined for any possible bad-motivation whereby they would merely seek to appear to be conforming, while really trying to subvert the laws and spirit of civil rights and preserving their segregationist and Jim Crow ways.

You can see this at work in the SO mania, where the SO is presumed to be so thoroughly deranged that he cannot be trusted to ever reform. And worse, as the 1995 Poritz decision snidely implies at one point, that even the most successfully re-integrated ex-offenders at best only ‘appear’ to be rehabilitated; but they cannot reliably be assumed to be truly re-integrated and to no longer ‘pose a threat’.

Thus, as early as 1966, federal regulations and laws began to reflect that assumption: they were to be made on the presumptions that a) they would be received in bad-faith and b) would be resisted and c) that such resistance would be slyly and secretly clothed in the appearance of good-faith, and d) that such resistance was grounded most fundamentally in bad motivation from the get-go.

And for a while back there in the South of that era, those presumptions were probably correct.

But the challenge posed by ‘the South’ in those days was far more complex than that. What happens when the government – especially the national government – starts making laws and regulations on the presumption that those Citizens affected will resist vigorously but also ‘secretly’, in the depths of their hearts, in their private selves and in the privacy of their local communal groups and deliberations? The dangers posed to the Constitutional ethos are profound.

Worse, what happens when the government – especially the national government – begins to take upon itself the task of making a deep and sustained assault upon the presumed ‘bad motivations’ of a sizable chunk of the Citizenry? What happens when the government – especially the national government – starts to presume that the Citizenry will be hostile to its laws and regulations? And that the Citizenry harbor ‘bad motivations’ in the depths of their heart and their local communities? How does the government – especially the national government – go about rooting that out? Especially if it intends to use law and regulation? The dangers posed to the Constitutional ethos are, again, profound.

The intrusiveness of SO laws, seen most clearly in the Adam Walsh Act scheme, is not simply an assault upon the individual SO and his family – it is that, but it is also another step in a general government drift – and worse – toward such intrusiveness. This governmental engorgement and pervasive supsicion of its own Citizens and of The People are profoundly anti-Constitutional.

And especially if it all must be done quickly? And in the 1960s, a full century after the Civil War and Reconstruction-era national legislation were supposed to have fixed the problem for good?

It seemed, and hardly illogically, that the fixing was loooong overdue and had to be accomplished Right Now. And this impulse blended with the Boomer-era’s youthful impatience and callow (but so natural to ‘youth’) disregard of consequences and complications.


It should have been clear that there were going to be monstrous difficulties. But the Democrats had gone wayyyy out on a limb by supporting LBJ’s civil rights agenda, having to shatter their New Deal coalition of Northern industrial workers and Southerners who could not forgive or forget the Republicans who sent the Yankee armies against them in the period 1861-1865. The Democrats were in dire and urgent need of some fresh demographics to keep their electoral viability, and especially in light of the increasingly obvious failure of ‘their’ war in Vietnam, they needed it damned quick.

Politicians in that advanced a state of agitation are even less tolerant of deep and complex thought than under calmer circumstances.

Nor was this a problem that remained localized in ‘the South’. Almost immediately, the civil rights sensibility spread to the black populations of the North and Upper Midwest, where they had migrated for jobs during World War 2. And those populations contained large numbers of radicalized blacks who had picked up the old organized-labor sensibility that had been alive and kicking since the 1880s and – far worse – the old 1930s Communist as well as socialist revolutionary sensibility and theory.

So all of a sudden, the national government was no longer battling the ‘bad faith’ of the white Citizenry of the old South but also of the North and Upper Mid-west and – let’s face it – the entire country. So all the Constitutional dangers mentioned above spread in scope over the entire country and – of course – theoretically against the entire white population.

That itself constituted a huge and lethal problem for the nation and the Constitutional ethos, and indeed for the very unity of the Citizenry and the integrity of the polity. It was a second and far more extensive problem layered over the original ‘old South’ problem.

But then other groups almost immediately began to assert their own ‘revolutions’, hoping to cast themselves as sort of another group as deeply beset as the Negroes or blacks and as deeply in need of – and entitled to – ‘civil rights’ and to – as had already now been developed for the blacks as early as 1966 and 1967 – some form of affirmative action or preference.

And all of them also asserting that just as the whites of the old South harbored in their inmost hearts the most evil of motives and the baddest of faith, so too each groups particular ‘enemy’ do so: the gays named ‘straight people’ as that enemy, and the feminists – so hugely influential since ‘women’ offered in theory a 51% of the population voting demographic – named ‘men’.

So now, by the early 1970s, the entire dynamic of law and regulation based on the presumption of public ‘bad faith’, had metastasized to include all ‘straight’ folks and ‘men’ generally.

Just on paper this should have given clear warning of a truly awful synergy. The government, seeking under the aura of ‘liberation’ and ‘empowerment’ to satisfy its burgeoning new demographics (I call them Identities), was committed to doing to the entire straight or the entire male population what it had originally hoped to get away with only against the white citizens of that ‘old South’.

This was not only a hell-hot irony, but had the makings of a national catastrophe: the government was now committed to supporting the presumption-of-bad-faith against almost half of the Citizenry. (As Howard will get around to noting, by 1994 the sum of Americans entitled under assorted preferences as minorities equaled 70% of the population, and to treat each ground-of-preference as if it were possessed by an individual added up to 370% of the American population.)

And feminism ratcheted everything up a dozen notches: on the basis of assorted academic theories, it asserted that the source of ‘bad faith’ among ‘men’ was not simply a specific complex of attitudes such as obtained among the whites of the old South toward ‘desegregation’ and ‘integration’, which those whites willingly embraced. Rather, ‘men’ – and, neatly, many women and any women, really, who didn’t agree with the feminists – were so immersed in ‘patriarchy’ that they didn’t even know that they were thoroughly sunk in ‘bad faith’. Come to think of it, said the feminists, the whole of Western civilization was tainted to its very core with ‘patriarchy’. And therefore in its approach to ‘women’ Western civilization was – in my terms here – no better than the Jim Crow culture of the old South. And deserved even less respect.

This ‘demonization and dismissal’ of large swaths of the Citizenry (and even of Western civilization itself) was a broad but less legally specific forerunner of the ‘demonization and dismissal’ of the entire ‘class’ of sex-offenders that was to see the light starting in the early 1990s.

The government – now not only Democrats but Republicans – thoughtlessly or helplessly extended its ‘war’ in an effort to please. (And does that sound kinda familiar?)

Howard observes acutely that the regulatory urge was to reduce any ‘judgment’, any ‘subjective’ input, even by those officials and bureaucrats charged with enforcing the metastasizing welter of laws and regulations. After all, if one presumes that almost anybody could harbor ‘bad faith’ in their heart, and if so many newly-erected Identities suspected that most ‘others’ did not fully agree with their demands (that would be an interesting study in itself), then the only solution was to ensure that nobody would be able to change the desired working of the law or regulation by imposing his/her own expertise or view or considered opinion (which be definition was nothing more than benighted discrimination and prejudice anyway).

The regulations were hoped to be ‘self-executing’: they only needed ‘human agents’ to officially match and tally the demander and the ‘rights’, and officially sign the order or issue the check or add the name to this or that preference list. Those ‘human agents’ were not to try to match the spirit of the regulation to a specific situation; they were merely human machines for toting, tallying, and officially endorsing demands.

Again, in the Adam Walsh Act scheme, State officials and even legislators and thus the States themselves, are not to exercise any discretion and Congress will not trust them nor authorize them to do so (a fine ‘partnership’ this turns out to be!). Although, Congress has no choice but to accept the ruling of a State Supreme Court that this or that section of AWA is contrary to the State’s Constitution – but even then, the Attorney General is supposed to finesse things with the State, although how that can happen without the State yielding is anybody’s guess.

There was to be no ‘subjectivity’; the regulations and the process of granting entitlements and ‘rights’ was to be ‘objective’, the theory hoped. But subjectivity is what humans do; it’s what humans are, and to conduct a society, let alone a government, without the judgment and subjectivity of those who have trained themselves in the law and the regulations is pretty much a rum business from the get-go.

But since ‘subjective’ input could harbor such ‘bad faith’ as ‘favoritism’ or ‘discrimination’ or other such possible human weaknesses, then ‘subjectivity’ could not be permitted. The laws and regulations were to work like mathematical or physical laws, which ‘execute themselves’ without any help from humans, thank you very much.

And again, in the Adam Walsh Act scheme the States are reduced merely to record-keepers or turnpike toll-takers unauthorized to discuss tolls with the individual motorist.

Somewhere in here, officially endorsed by the mavens of academic theory and Identity Politics, the government left the path of Reason, went off the rails, and slid down the slippery slope, through the Looking Glass, and into the midst of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party – and took the common weal and perhaps the viability of the polity with it.

Not enough national commentators and writers have given thought to using “Alice in Wonderland” as a measuring text against which Our present condition might be usefully examined.

For those who spend a great deal of time looking over court papers and scholarly articles and news reports about matters SO, a little quiet time with “Alice in Wonderland” and the world through the looking-glass might be a healthy stress reliever.

Nor is it at all demonstrably wise for a government to a) seek to transform culture primarily through the workings of law and regulation, and b) seek to judge – and preemptively and preventively – such a deeply private and immaterial quantum as ‘motive’ through the workings of law; and c) to do it all Right Now; and d) across a wide and complex grid of Identities’ demands, each of which generates its own axis of potential discrimination’. This is not a recipe for wide-ranging reform but rather for self-consuming implosion.

I say this not to imply that ‘things were perfect in the old days’, but rather to assert that the ‘cure’, as it has evolved, is quite probably more lethal than the disease. And that the several ‘cures’ required, each for its own Identity’s problems and demands, work cumulatively to interfere with each other and altogether weaken the strength of the polity, the society, and the nation itself (can you say ‘national security’ and ‘national integrity’?)

And when you hear them braying about the 'epidemic' of this or that currently-popular 'outrage', recall the monstrous and pervasive epidemic I have just sketched above.

As jurists such as Justice Lanzinger of the Ohio Supreme Court and others are starting to say and decide, the SO laws have now evolved to a point where they most certainly must be termed ‘punitive’, demolishing the pious bleat by legislatures and advocates that the laws are merely ‘civil’ and ‘regulatory’ (there’s that word again). I’ve said before that I’d like to see them say that the whole SO scheme ought to be declared wrong by virtue of the now-demonstrably gross inaccuracy of its basic assumptions, enshrined in the Findings that legislatures have published as justifications (they’d like us to think) for the laws.

And it didn’t stop there. As bureaucrats, those humans professionally committed to administering the vastly increasing corpus of laws and regulations, realized that they weren’t really expected – or permitted – to do more than rubber-stamp forms and function as machines, they became less committed to their tasks and more cynical. That can’t be good.

And they became more risk-averse. Does an individual have a reasonable ground for an exception to this or that regulation? Well, why risk job and benefits by going out on a limb and exercising any authority or initiative? Why risk compassion when you know you’re going to have to enforce ‘the process’ ‘objectively’ anyway? Impersonality is the way to go: you’re just a machine and they’re just sheep in a pen to be processed, for or against as the text of the regulation dictates.

This bodes ill not only for government service but also for the relationship of the government administrative apparatus to the Citizens it theoretically serves. As it bodes ill for the government regulatory authority that makes the rules that govern the apparatus. And – yooooo hooooo – as it does for the government legislators who authorize all this frakkery with assorted laws designed to root out ‘bad faith’, and presume bad-faith among the majority of the Citizenry.

Come to think of it, this ‘objective’, ‘self-executing’ approach to ‘regulatory’ law and praxis not only presumes bad-faith on the part of the majority of the Citizenry; it also presumes that same bad-faith among its own bureaucrats, on the very agents upon whom the government relies to administer these things.

So the trick would be to prevent anyone who was making a purported rights-demand from feeling that they were not going to get what they wanted, and at the same time the bureaucrats would protect their jobs by making sure that nobody making such a demand would have cause to complain about them. Thus the darkling dynamics that underlie and help fuel the 'preventive’ State as well as the ‘regulatory’ state. The two fires burn together to create a superfire.

You can see where all this could go and has gone in the SO mania. Not only does the government (especially the federal government and the Congress) now want to claim the authority to PREVENT by REGULATING, but they also want to a) horn in on States whose legislatures are actually the ones in possession of the Constitutional power over their criminal law, and which were originally assigned that power in the Constitutional vision because b) they were in closer touch with the actual ‘human geography’ of their citizens and thus were better-placed to wield the awesome and awefull power of the criminal law.

Howard also sees the ‘rights revolution’ for the dangers that it poses. A ‘right’ means that you never have to explain your demands or your desires, or the assumptions underlying them. And in its addled effort to feed all of its new demographic Identities the particular menu they desired, the Congress led the way, like an addled and overburdened mother-bird, in passing out ‘rights’ that would squelch any time-consuming and unpredictable public deliberation; after all, genuine grass-roots democratic politics was too slow and unpredictable and the ‘chicks’ were demanding to be given their imagined due Right Now.

It is here that Carol Gilligan’s 1982 theory of ‘the female ethic of care’ came to justify a truly dangerous dynamic: as Gilligan’s image of a mother soothing and placating emotionally agitated kids around a breakfast table was taken to be a better approach to life than ‘the male ethic of justice’, so the government began to apply it to the conduct of large national affairs, simply passing out ‘rights’ to whomever was making the most noise and leaving the ‘abstractions’ of public deliberation and ‘justice’ literally for the birds. The Constitutional ramifications and the most ‘political’ consequences in the most profound and vital sense of that word … were ignored in the rush.

It’s curious to see how ‘rights’ of all sorts were created and passed out liberally, while the simple and basic civil and Constitutional rights of SOs were so rapidly and widely ignored.

This theory also served to provide some benefit of philosophy – as it were – to a huge slab of ‘bad faith’ on the part of the government and the Identities: not only was it certain that public deliberation would take a long path to accepting the vast panoply of demands being put forth for immediate satisfaction and redress, but it was also highly uncertain that the public would even agree: perhaps there would be wide disagreement with the content of the demands themselves, or disagreement with the ideas underlying them, or perhaps there would be hesitation because even if the demand or idea were good, some of the unintended but inevitable consequences might be too damaging to the common weal.

The government – mother hen to its many new Identities – needed to circumvent the democratic process in order to get all these many demands met quickly. This 'bad faith' on the part of the government and the Identities was thoroughly predictable: committed to a 'revolutionary' and therefore anti-Constitutional approach to effecting change, then it was built into the whole thing from the beginning that subterfuge and skullduggery of all sorts was going to have to be deployed against The People.

But to circumvent the democratic process entails – unavoidably – subverting it. And so, on top of presuming that the majority of ‘traditional’ Americans were acting and could only act in ‘bad faith’, the government also saw itself - ‘logically’ it assured itself – justified in subverting the democratic process and willy-nilly the very Constitutional ethos that it was sworn to ‘protect, defend, preserve, and uphold’. (And so I say again, what Bush the Egregious did after 9-11 was not so much a change as it was simply a Rightist enlargement of what the Beltway had been doing for decades on the domestic scene. Treacherous it may have been, but ‘novel’ it most certainly was not.)

But this was built into the theories espoused and amplified by the feminists: ‘patriarchy’ itself was the original and quintessential ‘bad faith’ – source of all manner of ‘oppression’ and ‘discrimination’. And those drenched in it for so long that it now seemed ‘normal’ and ‘common sense’ and ‘tradition’ did not deserve the right to object; and the very Western civilization and even Constitution that were the fruits of such poisonous fruit did not enjoy legitimacy and deserved not to live.


Curiously – or maybe not so much – the feminists, leading the other Identities in theoretical justifications for this whole thing , were probably right that the panoply of demands would not gain public acceptance easily and perhaps could not even stand up to sustained scrutiny and analysis. One noted feminist writer in ‘The New Yorker’ magazine noted just last month how odd it was that while many ‘women’ were enjoying the ‘fruits of feminism’ yet very few wished to identify themselves as ‘feminists’ – and I think that speaks precisely to this.

As you have seen in the legislative histories of the various SO laws, the majority of them have not been passed according to the standard procedures and rules for considering proposed legislation. The passage of the New Jersey Megan’s Law in 1994 is a clear example of this: once the story of Megan’s death was suitably altered to make it seem that the parents did not already know of the genuine weirdness of the troubled murderer living across the street, then the vote-hungry boss of the legislature – looking to run for Congress – got the Bill to bypass committee deliberation and go directly to the floor where – in that highly public forum – any legislator with doubts was going to have to stand up and expose him/herself to the classic charge of ‘being soft on sex offenders’ or even of being one him/herself**

And so these laws barreled on into the body of law. The process itself destroys the integrity of legislative and judicial processes, corrupts the integrity of the legislators and jurists, and threatens the authority of the law and even of the legislature itself.

And of course, it was known then and there that the Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court at that time was publicly on record as a supporter of this new concept of regulatory and preventive law, which he clearly demonstrated in the 1995 Poritz decision that upheld the Megan’s Law legislation when it very predictably was contested as being un-Constitutional, and then the US Supreme Court did its bit in the 2003 Smith v. Doe case, following and upholding the New Jersey Supreme Court.

This now-common legislative and judicial corruption has helped numerous highly-dubious initiatives move directly into law and regulations, and at this point much of the corpus of law over the past few decades is thus tainted. To say nothing of the legislators and the jurists themselves, at all levels.***

As Lenin saw, in the beginning the revolution could harbor no dissent; perhaps after it was ‘accepted’ that would come (although Lenin was contradicting himself here: since the revolution was bringing ‘truth’ and ‘reality’ to the masses, then why tolerate dissent which could, in his theory, only serve un-truth and un-reality?). Stalin, far more ruthlessly practical, saw all that clearly and simply would not accept dissent. And I imagine that deep down he realized that the ‘masses’ could not ever be trusted to ‘get it’, to embrace the revolution; hell, he even had to purge the Party itself in the show trials of 1937-8 just to get rid of dissent within the ranks of the cadres themselves. And when Gorbachev finally decided that he had to ‘open the windows’ a bit and let in some fresh air, the whole revolution collapsed, quietly and quickly. We have just celebrated the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Velvet Revolution, and in 2011 will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the self-dissolution of the USSR itself.

The feminists embraced ‘Deconstruction’ as the handy philosophical pretext for disallowing and undermining ‘common sense’ and ‘tradition’ and even ‘reason’ (as well as ‘Reason’). And Political Correctness was the strategy for stifling and squelching any dissent and objection. And as a buttress to that Correctness, the cult of the ‘Victim’ tainted any objections to the Correct laws and regulations with the lethal accusation of ‘insensitivity’ and ‘blaming the victim’ and ‘re-victimizing’ ; like the telegenic and sympathy-grabbing baby fur-seals in the 1970s’ commercials, ‘victims’ were put forth as the ‘human face’ of all this frakkery, and the justification for it.

Howard notes that in the decades following the Sixties, this country began to rely on statute law and regulatory law, and moved away from Common Law. The Common Law tradition, evolved over the course of a millennium in England, stemmed from the practical and gimlet-eyed efforts of jurists and legislators to provide ‘law’ without burdening the limited resources of the legal system – itself evolving slowly – with ‘cases’ inspired by those wishing to manipulate it with false or unnecessary complaints. Practical local jurisprudence and legislation was aimed at preserving a law that followed the contours of the human ‘geography’ on which it was built.

The ‘revolutionary’ tradition of law was hell and gone from that: the revolution possessed Truth, the people needed to be brought or dragged to that Truth, and Law served that purpose above any other purpose. The feministical ‘deconstruction’ did not really help matters, and offered no genuine ‘progress’ or ‘reform’, when it merely asserted that there was no such thing as Truth anyway and that therefore everything was up for grabs, the spoils to go to the Party or pressure-group that wrested political control by whatever means necessary and could then impose its excited and agitated visions on everybody else.

The Congress, probably ‘in a fit of absence of mind’ (though that is a huge indictment in itself) lost the Constitutional ethos as Great Britain lost its empire. But I say that the loss of the Constitutional ethos (if it cannot be restored) will prove a far worse catastrophe for humanity than the loss of the British Empire.

The Bill of Rights, Howard notes, was precisely devised to keep government away from the Citizenry, to keep it out of their lives and certainly to keep it from claiming juridical sovereignty over their minds and hearts. The ‘regulatory’ state, the government that presumed the ‘bad faith’ of its Citizens and determined to ‘fix that’, that set itself up as the grantor and guarantor of whatever ‘rights’ it chose to bestow upon whomever it chose to bestow them, regardless of the consequences to other Citizens or to the integrity and even viability of the common weal and of the polity itself, is hell and gone from that.

Such a ‘regulatory’ state is a direct heir of the revolutionary state and philosophical assumptions of Jacobin France and the revolutions of Lenin and Stalin and Mao.

And such a trajectory embraced by a government grounded in the Constitution cannot end up in a good place for the country nor – in consequence – for the government itself. As We have perhaps recently begun to notice.

Howard wrote this book in 1994. Things have not gotten better. Indeed they have gotten worse domestically.**** Worse, the hugely weakened Constitutionality and ‘common sense’ of the government lured it after 9-11 into the most un-traditional and ill-considered (or outright un-considered) foreign wars, whose hugely predictable bad consequences have wrought and are wreaking havoc across a broad spectrum of possibility: fiscal, military, diplomatic, and even moral, while simultaneously weakening not only the nation’s position among the people and governments of the world but also the nation’s very ability to sustain itself in the manner to which it has become accustomed since 1945.

The country’s capabilities are coming down around the ears of a Citizenry who have allowed the government to mutate into an anti-Constitutional regulatory and preventive state.

How this lethal synergy of The People’s weakness, the individual citizen’s loss of civic competence, a failing economy whose frightening challenges serve only to distract and terrify the public, and a chain-reaction of international doubt as to the country’s military and economic and even moral capacity, all at a time when the nation’s lack of vital natural resources and essential productivity have declined precipitously … well, I’d say that New Year’s eve is no time to be popping any corks.

More serious amusements – not excluding prayer, fasting, and serious thinking, alone and with other Citizens – are called for. Urgently.

And don't worry. If you do so, you won't be missing all that much. The good times have stopped rolling. And they won’t be coming back.


*New York: Random House.

**You saw this same juvenile and treacherously dangerous dynamic later deployed in the Patriot Act legislation of 2001: any legislator who harbored doubts about the hugely dubious and dangerous Patriot Act legislation was exposed to the charge of being ‘soft on terrorism’. As has since been revealed, many of the legislators, realizing the hopelessness of voicing their reservations, not only kept their mouths shut but didn’t even bother to read the Patriot Act Bill before voting for it, and so it passed into law as quickly as the Megan’s Law legislation (and much other SO legislation) made their way into law.

***I want to say this though: I have been hard on legislators and jurists in my Posts, and I don’t regret that, but I want to acknowledge here that there are and always have been some courageous and honest legislators and jurists who have had grave doubts and reservations about these laws. They need the support of The People in order to deploy their authority and position in order to turn back this dangerous tide. Supporters of the SO community must send messages encouraging these legislators and jurists, as well as sending messages of dissent to those in authority who still help enable this flood of bad and dangerous legislation.

****Although, reflecting the tactical political considerations that drive the now-merged Republocrat Party of the Beltway, ‘regulation’ and the presumption of ‘bad faith’ was intensified when deployed against the ‘enemies’ of the newly-erected Identities, while it was abandoned at the behest of the PAC-paying corporate and financial interests, who were presumed to be ‘reliable’ and ‘able to regulate themselves’ because they had ‘good faith’. Oy gevalt and frak.


Given that the ‘regulatory -preventive’ state was initially introduced in order to ‘liberate’ and ‘empower’ not simply the black community from Jim Crow (the original premise almost 50 years ago) but also to deeply and widely change the warp and woof of American culture, society and tradition Right Now for the purported ‘empowerment’ of all sorts of other tag-along Identities, We have now reached the Orwellian point where many activists can claim that ‘more government means more liberty’.

That mantra may seem harmless and ‘liberal’ enough in its intentions, but once you a) put it in those few words as I just did, and b) remind yourself that this is a ‘regulatory-preventive’ government hell-and-gone from the Constitutionally envisioned American government, you can see how things have left the rails, if not also the path of Constitutional wisdom and – a good case could be made – the path of prudence and reason altogether.

Nor is this only a problem from the Left, as it were. The Rightist law-and-order crowd, fueled by the deep disorder or lack of ‘order’ created by – and intended by – the assorted ‘revolutions’ from the Left, have embraced a police-state ethos under the name of ‘conservative’ and ‘traditional’ American praxis.

Neither the regulatory-preventive state nor its equally deforming twin, the police state, are in any way hospitable to the Constitutional vision. Indeed, they are and must be by their very nature hostile to the Constitutional state.


I also point out the connection between all this and the dynamics underlying the Bill entitled the International Violence Against Women and Girls Act, about which I Posted earlier this month on both this and my other site.

If ‘more government means more liberation’, then naturally – in Lenin’s sense: we have the absolute Truth, so naturally we want to see the whole world accept it – the Identity advocacies want to see that other peoples and cultures ‘get it’ just the way they do and just the way they have (however imperfectly) gotten the government to impose it here.

As always, I point out one of the politically most lethal ramifications of Identity Politics, and especially of the subset called Gender Politics: one’s selected ‘identity’ – in this case ‘gender’ – overrides all other roles and identities that an individual might have. This includes being ‘human’ – which fractures the sense of common humanity, and being a Citizen of one’s country – which fractures the sense of the polity.

You can see how quickly lethal trouble would arise for any society whose government for whatever reasons embraced full-blown Identity and Gender Politics.

I also mentioned that the ‘progressive’ and Left desire to impose the ‘liberation’ of Gender Politics upon developing nations by piggy-backing the plan on the authority of the US government would dovetail with the intensifying US tendency to expand its control over as much of the under-developed world as possible in order to maintain a place at the Great Table and remain a player in the Great Game. And that in this regard, the quite possibly destabilizing effects upon any under-developed government that tried to comply with the US vision (as the Bill would have it): a revolt by its own people who would see, far more clearly than Americans have, just how much of an assault on the warp and woof of their culture such a vision constitutes.

You know, in a way we’re back to the late 1800s: this is Great Power politics and Great Power imperialism all over again. Except that where in the 19th century such imperialistic impositions were done under the auspices of a superior Truth as embodied in religion (Christianity, most often) now in the early 21st the superior Truth is purportedly embodied in the theories of Identity and Gender Politics and those adherents and cadres who ‘get it’.

But also as in the 19th century, there are more material and murkier objectives: back then it was ‘resources and markets’, and now it’s ‘resources’ more than markets. America is running out of resources and out of the productive capabilities and even the productive ethos that forms the work force that can sustain the massive efforts necessary to utilize those resources.

The imposition of Superior Truth works for the purposes of state whether it fails or succeeds. Even if it fails and is rejected by the target culture and population, and even if the target government is destabilized or even delegitimized, it works because then the US can step in with its increasingly imperial-gendarme military – which affords secure access to whatever resources (oil and natural gas especially, but also something as simple as geographic location on the Board of the Great Game) that ‘country’ controlled.


And all under the guise of bringing to those who ‘just don’t get it’ the light of Progress and Truth. Just as imperial gambits of earlier centuries were secure in their good-intention of bringing the benefits of ‘civilization’ to the ‘benighted natives’.

You can see how these Perfect Storms and monster wildfires form.

Sunday, December 13, 2009



This is going to be a brief Post, but I think it will help clarify a phenomenon the SO community (and everybody else in the country) faces when it comes to ‘statistics’ and claims made for public consumption.

I am going to do a brief review of the 1-page House Resolution 454, passed June 10, 2009. The text of it is here. It is a Resolution honoring the 25th anniversary of Congress’s setting up the Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Of course, I will say right off that I hold no brief whatsoever for those who abduct, abuse, or otherwise exploit children. It is not my intent here to cast aspersions on the purpose of the Center.

But the Resolution offers in one single page some very clear examples of how things can be done in the ‘advocacy’ world, and in the Beltway generally.

First off, as so often, is a question of definitions: what exactly does the group mean by “exploited”? Do public school kids who are not getting much of an education count? Who haven’t got health care and are growing up in poverty? Probably not what the Center takes to be its mandate or its preferred ‘sense’ of “exploited”, although the unsuspecting Citizen-reader may not be privy to the ‘mental reservations’ included in the Center’s definition of “exploited”.

Second, it’s a little curious how they define “missing”. The first ‘Whereas’ clause says that “800,000 children are reported missing each year in the United States”. OK. How do they define “missing”? My guess is that either they have somehow extrapolated the number: you ask say 100 families if they reported any of their tykes “missing” to the police this year; if 25 say Yes, then you simply get the number of ‘families’ (however defined) in the country, and say that 25% of them have had a (or several, if you think it will help) tyke reported “missing” this year. Or, you might add up all the ‘missing child’ reports from the police departments throughout the country (there may be a public clearing house or FBI or DOJ Report with the number, or you may have access to police info – who knows now?).

But that “missing” includes the tykes who aren’t where a parent expects them to be and so the parent immediately calls the police.

That possibility is supported by the next Whereas clause: “Whereas 200,000 of that number are abducted by family members, and 58,000 are abducted by non-family members, for which the primary motive is sexual assault”. So a quarter of the 800,000 go missing because they are with family members.

And does “abducted” mean that they were purposely and with malice-aforethought kidnapped? Or that they happened to be with some other family member and the parent calling the police didn’t know it at the time?

And that 58,000: grammatically, the way the Resolution’s text is written, with the comma after “members” in the 58,000 clause, then the following clause – “for which the primary motive is sexual assault” – applies to both of the preceding clauses, yielding the ‘fact’ that all 200,000 are “abducted” for the primary motivation of “sexual assault”.

I think they mean to say that the “sexual assault” clause only refers to the 58,000 (and that’s just my surmise). But that leaves the question: do they actually pay attention to what they’re writing in the Beltway when they do these things? Or does some pol just get a fax with the group’s desired text and then parrot it to the Membership under his/her sponsorship?

At any rate, a quarter of all “missing child” reports, apparently, are the result of abduction by family members or strangers for the purposes of “sexual assault”. That’s a huge number, if by “sexual assault” we mean attempted rape or rape or something along those lines. Of course, if “sexual assault” is defined in the Center’s special vocabulary as involving any physical contact whatsoever (picking the child up to put him/her into a vehicle or to give him/her a bottle or some such) then the picture changes greatly.

I don’t know the answer to that myself, but this text doesn’t enlighten me either. But then, perhaps it’s not designed to do that, at least as its “primary motivation”.

But then the next Whereas clause says “Whereas each year 115 children are the victims of the most serious abductions, kidnapped by non-family members and either ransomed, murdered, or taken with the intent to keep”. So out of 800,000, 200,000 and 58,000 we now get to 115 who are actually abducted in the sense that the average person might understand (and such abductions are genuinely outrageous and abhorrent). 115 out of 800,000. Which tallies to 0.00014375 if I’ve gotten my calculator to do it right.

Which is not to minimize the 115, but to put it into context of the actual percentage of cases where things are really bad.*

I think that the percentage of kids killed in autos driven by or hit by negligent or impaired or distracted adults is probably a lot higher than 0.00014375, but I don’t suppose Congress will leap at the conclusion that to save ‘even just one’ it is necessary to ban adults from driving kids in cars, or tasking the nation’s police with setting up checkpoints every day, or keeping a Registry of who has or might usually drive kids around in a vehicle.

Clause Six asserts that “Whereas NCMEC has assisted law enforcement in the recovery of more than 138,500 children”. Again, I’m happy to hear that so many cases turned out more or less well. But just how did the Center manage to do that? It is it involved in resolving each of these cases? Or does it count every reportedly missing child whose name it puts up on its internet list and is later found – by anybody – as a ‘save’ for itself?

Clause Seven asserts that “Whereas NCMEC’s Amber Alert program has led to 443 recoveries”. “Led to” directly, or is this another matter where any recovery of any child whose name is Amber-Alerted counts as a “recovery” attributable to the Center? And don’t the police put those Alerts out? Does the Center have the authority to issue those too? On the police network? How does it work with the Center rather than the police agencies doing it?

And 443 out of 800,000 works out (again, I don’t vouch for my math – never my best subject) to 0.0005537. Which, again, is nice but … and do these ‘recoveries’ count from the most serious cases or from the overall 800,000 or from the 200,000 or from the 58,000?

Clause Eight truly stupefies: “Whereas in 2008, NCMEC helped recover more children than any other year in the organization’s 25-year history, raising the recovery rate from 62 percent in 1990 to 97 percent today”. So 97% of the children are recovered – is that 97% of the 800,000, the 200,000, the 58,000, or the 115?

And if it’s from one of the vastly larger numbers, then is it not possible that a very large percentage of those “missing children” were actually only misplaced tykes, or got picked up by Grandma, or were teens who ran away in the first place? And if it’s runaway teens, then that’s hell and gone from an infant or toddler snatched by a stranger for purposes of sex and murder. Which it would be nice to know so that Citizens can judge things for themselves.

Clause Nine reports “Whereas NCMEC operates the toll-free 24-hour national missing children’s hotline, which has handled more than 2,377,000 calls”. OK, and over 25 years that works out to around 95,000 calls per year (presuming that the line has been in service for 25 years) – although in that same timeframe, 20 million “children” (however defined) have gone – or at least been reported – “missing”. I’m not sure how long the hot-line has been working, but the Resolution says 800,000 per year and so there have been 20 million ‘children’ missing in this country in the psat 25 years - if this were genuinely true, it dwarfs 9-11 and either or both of the World Wars. Can this be right? Can this be true? It depends, of course, on how you define things and how you crunch the numbers.

I wonder, though, if the Citizens are expected to crunch any numbers at all – but rather to simply listen to the Congressional recitation and then applaud politely and agree (bringing back memories of the attendees at Stalin’s birthday parties).

Clause Ten acknowledges that “Whereas NCMEC provides assistance to families and law enforcement agencies in locating and recovering missing and exploited children, both nationally and internationally”. Yes, although how many families and just how many phone calls and letters qualify as “internationally”? Does this mean they are working with Interpol, or that sometimes European families call about ‘children’ vacationing or going to college here who haven’t called home and don’t write? Again, there’s a lot that is and isn’t in this assertion.

Clause Eleven, however, more directly invites SO community attention: “Whereas NCMEC offers technical assistance and training to law enforcement in identifying and locating non-compliant sex offenders”. Sooooo, they just accidentally happened upon these persons while looking for missing children (however defined)? Or are they also another volunteer bunch in the ‘sex offender hunting’ business? And if the latter, then do they have access to the NCIC and police databases, being a formally erected or chartered or recognized (by Congress) organization? Of course, if the Center is part of the SO mania, then I can start to see why Congress is going to such lengths to enable it, just as the Center is grasping so deeply to puff itself up. (And if memory serves, the head of this Center is a formal and public supporter of the AWA – but that can’t be a surprise to anybody.)

And what sort of “training” does the Center provide that the official police agency training establishments do not offer? And what sort of “technical assistance” that the police agencies don’t have access to already? (And again, how much access to official police databases does this Center have?)

Clause Twelve reports that “Whereas NCMEC has a team of forensic artists who create age progression photos, which has assisted in the successful recovery of 895 children”. 895 out of which number? 800,000, 200,000, 58,000 … ?

Clause Thirteen reports that “Whereas NCMEC CyberTipline has handled more than 686,000 reports”. Reports of what? Are people cybering the Center rather than the police? Are they cybering to report the missing child? Are they cybering to ‘report’ suspected ‘sex offenders’? (the vast majority of whom, as is known, have nothing to do with children)? Surely, the original sin of conflating ‘sex offenders against children’ with all ‘sex offenders’ (often on the baseless assertion that if you sex-offend against an adult (or animal) then you are bound to do so against children sooner or later, if you haven’t already) now comes home to roost.

And over how many years has this cyber-thing been in operation? And do these ‘reports’ also include ‘opinions’ and blog-like one-liners?

Clause Fourteen reports that “Whereas NCMEC’s Child Victim Identification Program has reviewed and analyzed 23,000,000 child pornography images and videos, 8,600,000 in 2008 alone” – that’s an awful lot of viewing of pornography … how do you get away with it if you’re not the police? I thought you could get in a lot of trouble merely for ‘possession’ of if it were on your hard-drive or in an email that you – advertently or inadvertently – opened? Are they somehow as immune as the police and prosecutors?

Clause Fifteen continues to give something of a hidden game away. “Whereas NCMEC’s sex offender tracking team has already located 402 missing sex offenders”. So they are in the sex-offender hunting business, and I notice that the Resolution – as so often in this thing – does not distinguish between ‘sex offenders against children’ and ‘sex offenders’ generally. ** And how much authority does this ‘tracking team’ enjoy, the Center actually being a Congressionally-somethinged entity? And in what way were the 402 (spread over how many years?) sex offenders “missing”? We are seeing more and more SOs who can wind up being out-of-compliance simply because the web of SO laws and regulations are so minute. And who can say how many SOs are technically ‘missing’ because they haven’t complied with the retroactive net swung so widely by AWA?

Clause Eighteen informs the taxpayers that “Whereas NCMEC facilitates the deployment of the National Emergency Child Locator Center during periods of national disasters”. There is such a thing? And rather than an actual government agency (FEMA, DOJ, FBI, DHS) this quasi-governmental entity runs such an expensive and complex operation? Or is it just a tent with some laptops and a coffee-machine? Sorry, but this is starting to really irritate me.

The Nineteenth and final Clause informs the Citizens that “Whereas NCMEC deploys Team Adam, a rapid response and support system comprised of retired law enforcement officers, to provide on-site technical assistance to local law enforcement agencies investigating cases of child abduction and sexual exploitation”. Named, no doubt, after Adam Walsh (upon whom be much peace) whose disappearance and death – and the motivation for them – remain unknown to this day, and the perpetrator(s) undiscovered, and whose death may have had nothing whatsoever to do with sex or sex offenders at all.

This whole operation sounds to me like not only a quasi-governmental but also quasi-police organization.

I would have to say that while its general original and titled purpose – missing and exploited children – extends far far beyond sex-offenses, yet it has found its operational niche in matters sex-offensual. And to that extent, whether unintentionally or otherwise, has become an active element in the sex-offense mania.

This is not to denigrate its cause or the cases of the truly missing and exploited children in this country. Nor to impugn the good intentions of the participants. But there’s an awful lot of stuff here – which the Center almost certainly intended for the House to publish in its Resolution – that raises more questions than it allays.

And my original purpose in this Post is not the Center itself, but rather to demonstrate how one might go about reading these sort of things – as Soviet readers used to read Pravda and Izvestia: between the lines and for ‘what wasn’t there’.

Nor do I accept that the Soviet reference is ‘extreme’ or ‘shrill’ or uncalled-for. Given the way things have gone, I think it’s quite justified indeed.


*Of course, you can say that ‘if even one’ is abducted, or ‘if even one’ such abduction is prevented, then it’s worth it – but I’m looking at the general techniques here, not examining child-abductions. This ‘if only even one’ approach has been used to justify the huge matrix of sex-offense police-state laws (and the domestic-violence police-state laws before that). You get to the point where you have to ask yourself – and where the Citizenry has to ask itself – just how much ‘police state’ can the country survive in order to meet this problem? The problem of answering that question, you might realize, was and still is precisely the one that later arose after 9-11, in terms of security-vs-civil-rights, free-speech-vs-civil-and-Constitutional-rights, and even ‘torture’. These things have a tendency to migrate among the ongoing Beltway excitements.

**In making this distinction I am not at all implying that sex offenders against children deserve fewer Constitutional rights and protections; like any American who is convicted of a crime, a sex offender against children retains all of his/her Constitutional rights and is still, in the Constitutional scheme and vision, a Citizen. (And you can see why the Sex Offense mania and all its supporters are, willy or nilly, a threat to the Constitution and the Constitutional vision, and to the future of the American Constitutional polity.)


I can recommend to you the site where you can keep track of all Bills pending before Congress. Simply go to the homepage, click on 'Bills and Resolutions', then on the page that appears, enter 'sex offenders' or some such in your search terms box, and it will show you every Bill pending in this or the previous Sessions and Congresses that relates to the search term.

I am happy to report that although there are a number of 'sex offender' Bills introduced this year, they all are 'in committee', and not many appear as if they are going to make it to the floor for consideration and a vote.

Don't pop any corks yet.

Friday, December 11, 2009


I am following up here on the Post of December 7 that first discussed this Bill; you may want to review that Post.

I found the text of this Bill and read it. The text is available here. It’s only about 20 pages long and is not hard to read – although the plan and strategy outlined in it might give you some nightmares.

The Bill was indeed put forward a couple of times before; both times it failed to get to the floor – that says something encouraging about the Congress, but it’s too early to pop any champagne corks. The text of the Bill is that of the most recent effort to get it going, dated April 30, 2008.

I have put up a lengthy Post on my other site, and you can read it here. But that Post goes into politics and history, so what I am going to do here is simply point out the most directly SO-relevant material.

Essentially, this Bill wants to create in foreign countries the entire panoply of feminist advocacy and all its sub-divisions: law, law enforcement, health care, university education and community awareness.

Naturally, under the ‘law enforcement’ rubric, all of the police state tactics We have seen in the SO mania are included, as well as many from the Domestic Violence matrix.

The Bill does so – as We saw in the Shepard Act and a number of the key SO laws – by the government declaring itself some State’s “partner”, and then telling the State what it has to do … or risk losing its funding. But here the feds are not dealing with States of the United States but foreign governments.

And it is hugely dubious whether any foreign government can accept the entire panoply of feminist structures and – far more lethal – cultural and societal impositions: if you read the Bill in its entirety, then all of the assorted changes and reforms which ‘partnership’ with the US will bring add up to a profound imposition on, even an assault on, the target (or ‘partner) country’s warp and woof .There is no small chance of the people themselves rising up against their government.

There is no ‘carrot’ in this scheme. The ‘stick’ is that no country can receive foreign aid unless it complies. The old Al Capone scam now erected into national foreign policy as it was introduced into domestic policy in the SO laws.

Worse, and most cynically, however, is this: although the violence which the Bill deplores as an ‘epidemic’ is world-wide, the only countries ‘eligible’ for having this ‘partnership’ declared on them (much as war was once declared) are those that are officially ranked as “low income” by the UN.

In other words, although this is a world-wide and deeeeeep ‘emergency’, if you are big enough to tell the US government to go fly a kite, or have lent enough to the US government to be able to threaten to call in your Notes, or can afford a military able to turn back the American ‘partners’ on the landing strips … then you aren’t ‘eligible’ to be a ‘partner’. The Bill shrewdly picks only on nations too poor and weak to stand up for themselves.

The Bill itself deploys the usual “Findings” tactic of reporting outrageous amounts of everything, backed up with dubious statistics and fuzzy, overbroad definitions. It boils down to this: any nation in the world with women in it is probably vulnerable to being ‘declared’ a ‘partner’ in this scheme. Violence against men – by other men or even by women – is not mentioned at all.

The entire globe-girdling effort is to be presided over by a Coordinator who will “enjoy the rank and status of an Ambassador-At-Large” and who will report directly (and only) to the Secretary of State herself.

There is no clear indication of how this Ambassador-At-Large will interact (or not) with regular local American Ambassadors; looking at the text, this Ambassador-At-Large could wind up functioning as a sort of Proconsul for Female Stuff.

She (I’m guessing) – according to the vague but sweeping text – will have sweeping authority to deploy any US assets and resources in the PREVENTING or responding to violence (verrrry widely and vaguely defined) against “women and girls” (a peculiar phrase frequently used in the text).

So We can see ‘preventive’ law – as in the SO mania – now trying to break into the international arena of American foreign affairs.

And – don’t console yourself that this is ‘far-fetched’ – among those assets the military and CIA are not excluded. Indeed, there is a special role for training foreign police and militaries in the type of ‘awareness’ that We see in the SO mania.

I cannot see how this is going to enhance national security, as the new sponsor – Delahunt of MA – piously claims at the end of his Op-Ed. Such a profound and invasive programme, which has proven to be both hugely divisive within citizenry and society over here and the source of numerous police-state tactics and laws, stand a strong probability of generating much popular hostility. I can imagine that if this Bill ever passes and this programme is enacted into law, then this country is going to make a whole lot of new enemies – and do We need to be doing that?

Again, I note just what is at stake in all of the efforts to roll-back the SO mania laws. They are now trying to creep into international affairs, where the US has far fewer tools and declining authority to impose its visions and its will.

Furthermore, whereas in the US the citizens – male and female – are deeply inculcated with a peaceable-ness and civility that has permitted so much to go on for so long in the age of Mania, yet most of the other peoples of the world – especially in countries that are not “high-income” – are not at all so patient. Whether they simply laugh it all off (being laughed-at is an acutely informative experience that the advocates of this mania have never had to experience over here) or take more vigorous, forceful and direct negative action is hard to predict in any specific instance, but such outcomes would hardly be unpredictable. “Backlash” will take on a whole new meaning if those peoples and nations get riled up.

If the SO laws can be rolled back, then a significant chunk of the lethal and dangerous police-state enforcement apparatus will be eliminated – though, of course, it will be interesting to observe just how such mania can be sustained without all that apparatus.

Needless to say, I hold no brief for violence against anybody on the planet. But there are wise efforts and unwise efforts to address large problems. And America of late has been indulging in rather unwise policies and programmes, and all those consequences are starting to catch up with Us, like huge turkeys come home to roost.

The country stands at a volatile crossroads – efforts to roll-back the SO mania are not only an important national necessity but an international necessity as well.

Let Us continyuh!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


This will be a brief Post, just to follow-up on a thought I had put into the Post on Janet Halley a couple back.

You may recall that I wrote about Carol Gilligan’s 1982 distinction between boys and their ‘ethic of justice’ and girls and their ‘ethic of caring’.

If you don’t recall it, I am reproducing it here and then offer another line of thought about it.

In the Halley Post I wrote:

“In 1982 the psychologist Carol Gilligan wrote the book “In a Different Voice”. She asserted that the moral development of females and males differed. The boys developed an “ethic of justice, predicated on the understanding of human beings as individuated and separate, and on the rule of logic and the rule of law”.

The girls, however, “saw that the world is not made up of separated, self-seeking individuals but rather of interrelations, connections webbing everyone together in communities of concern”; further, that “they made moral decisions not through abstract reasoning from rules but by balancing the infinitesimal and acute needs of everybody concerned” (p69). (Italics mine) This, Gilligan said, is an ‘ethic of caring’.

The boys’ “ethic of justice” was contrasted to the girls’ “ethic of caring”.

THIS, as the kids would say, is HUGE.

If you think you can hear oblique echoes of the Sotomayor confirmation hearings, I think what you have here is the American start of it all.

But more fundamentally, I think what you have here is the dark beating heart of the intensifying Constitutional corrosion that has been going on for decades, for which the Bush Era skullduggery is not a cause or source, but merely a symptom and a result.

If you look at what the boys are doing, you will see the essential philosophy underlying the Constitutional ethos: individual persons, responsible for themselves and their development, responsible as well for their actions, but they will be judged – if such be required – according to the logic of cause and effect and according to the rules of the applicable laws. The government, of course, is as contained in its powers and the responsible use of them as the individual citizens are contained by their responsibilities under the laws.

The girls – in Gilligan’s schematic – entertain a vision that is hell and gone from that. It’s a more maternal (!) approach: whichever baby is crying is to be helped along and soothed, regardless of whether there is a ‘reason’ for it to be crying. It’s a fine approach for dealing with still undeveloped infants still helplessly subject to the waves of their passions and emotions’ they can’t be expected to use their ‘reason’ to self-modulate their emotions.

But a nation is comprised of adults who are responsible. Or should be. Or perhaps must be.
The ‘ethic of caring’ works perfectly well for infants. But the ‘ethic of justice’ is what works for adults. If you’re going to have a Constitutionally envisioned limited government, grounded by a Constitutionally envisioned mature Citizenry.

Any government that is going to appoint itself as the Fixer of All Pain is going to be taking on the role of God and the angels – and will demand that much authority (it can never attain that much wisdom). Bill Clinton’s nifty soundbite – I feel your pain – stems ultimately from this schematic of Gilligan’s, I think.

I think it’s clear here how the ‘ethic of caring’ – when raised to the level of national policy on the highest and most profound levels – is a perfect vehicle to justify the sex-offense laws: the government must ‘protect’ and the best way to do that is to ‘prevent’ – and, bingo, the sex-offense Registration and Notification schemes and the civil-commitment schemes and the residency-restriction schemes and all the rest.

And I hope I don’t have to say it too loudly: I am not ‘un-caring’ and I think that ‘care’ is a profoundly valuable and indeed a vital element in the quality of personal and societal life. Indeed, for anyone who does find him/herself engaging in sex-offenses, this may be an excellent starting point for self-repair: to inflict a genuine sex-offense is clear indication that the offender doesn’t care enough about him/herself as a human being, nor about the victim as a human being.”

Now I want to follow-up on what I wrote.

Gilligan’s observation is an interesting one, and I think it’s quite worth some study. Around the kitchen table or in the domestic, familial, child-raising setting, I think Gilligan accurately depicts what the maternal (not totally determined by the sex of the parent) input and influence is and how it works.

The maternal or 'care' approach is that the first priority is to help the kid(s) master emotions and feel accepted and ‘listened to’. Matters of ‘reason’ and ‘justice’ are secondary, not least because a child doesn’t yet have the fully-developed brain-parts that can process ‘abstractions’.

Postponement of gratification, impulse control, and self-sacrifice are not immediately available to humans in their young stages, and cannot be presumed.

So the 'care approach' exercises a somewhat arbitrary and absolute authority – although ideally in a non-repressive way – in order to help the tyke)(s) through this storm of emotion. This is perfectly appropriate and necessary when dealing with tykes and such ‘parental authority’ is in this context not only appropriately exercised but also absolutely necessary if tykes are to have any chance at growing into a genuine and effective maturity.

But now, in the public setting, things get more complicated, and hugely so.

In the American Constitutional vision you cannot have a government exercising the arbitrary omnipotence that a parent naturally and necessarily enjoys over the tykes. In the Framers’ vision, no government – composed of human beings (male or female) – can be allowed to possess that much authority. Human beings cannot be trusted with it on such a large and powerful scale.

Thus the ‘ethic of caring’ – quite accurately described by Gilligan – cannot be transferred from the kitchen table to the legislative and governance forum, from child-raising to public affairs. Because then you wind up with a Nanny State, as it were. And you can see how easily a National Nanny State (NNS) trends necessarily to an anti-Constitutional mode of governance. And the NNS does so just as quickly and surely as the more widely acknowledged National Security State (NSS).

Gilligan’s ‘male’ ethic was cartoonishly taken up as a clear sign of what was ‘wrong’, and her ‘female’ ethic was touted as a sign of what was always right but for so long repressed. Cartoons require a certain mature reading in order to be constructive; otherwise folks simply get their yuks and think that they ‘know’ something that – really – they don’t.

Of course, given the need of certain Identity advocacies to ‘deconstruct’ the political and cultural authority of ‘the family’ – among other deep and dense societal and cultural institutions – then this ‘maternal’ role was cheeribly transferred to the government (and to the criminal law). This was one of those sleights-of-thought that occurred in ominous numbers during the decades – especially the 1980s and 1990s – that many Identity advocacies are now touting as their salad days and the days of their greatest influence, success, and ‘victory’.

And as I’ve said, the Perfect Storm synergy was comprised of several interacting dynamics: the desire of certain Identity Advocacies to replace long-standing cultural institutions and ways of looking at things; the eagerness of first the Democrats and then also the Republicans to get and keep new ‘demographics’; the traditional American optimism about the ‘change’ always being positive and without-downsides or consequences; and the aura (or miasm) of ‘urgency’ and ‘emergency’ that was created by a far too shrewd PR campaign waged by the hired guns and committed ‘advocates’ of both the ‘liberal’ and ‘progressive’ Left and the ‘conservative’ law-and-order Right.

And, in a dark neatness, the decreasing status and authority and competence of ‘the family’ and of ‘marriage’ and of ‘adulthood’ and ‘maturity’ did indeed start producing very large numbers of under-raised children who entered chronological adulthood inadequately prepared to exercise adult and Citizen responsibilities. (I would say that this is the most prevalent and lethal form of ‘child abuse’ in the country at this point, and has been now for so long that many of the children thus abused are now well into chronological adulthood but genuinely ‘unripe’ – now am I trying here to ‘blame the victim’.)

The mainstream media, of course, were happy for a melodramatic script that was guaranteed to attract viewers and last a reliably long time (sort of like the later Long War(s) in Southwest Asia).

I think it’s clear that the Constitutional vision and ethos cannot survive without a mature Citizenry. Which means that each individual Citizen (or as many as possible) must have reached a certain level of adult maturity in order to participate in the People-wide task of governing the government.

And that this maturity would include that ‘abstract’ justice described by Gilligan as an ‘ethic of justice’. That ethic is not a ‘boys’ or ‘male’ ethic; it is a mature adult ethic suited for and required when mature adults govern themselves and interact among each other. The ‘ethic of caring’ is appropriately deployed in the family setting when raising tykes who by very definition are not yet adults able to exercise the active responsibilities of Citizens.

I am not at all suggesting that mature adults should not ‘care’. But I am saying that the primary ground-rule and frame for envisioning and conducting public affairs and ensuring the common weal has to be an ‘ethic of justice’ (which, as I said, is not just a ‘guy thing’ but is rather an ‘adult’ thing required of both sexes).

No government can be allowed to have and exercise the type of arbitrary authority that the ‘ethic of caring’ requires. Indeed, in the ‘ethic of caring’, the parent acts very much as the old 18th century ‘benevolent despot’ – and you may recall that the Framers specifically rejected such a form of government, realizing that human beings are far too flawed as a species to presume that a wise and benevolent despot would always be available – and elected – to important government office.

So you can see that – intended or not – much of what has passed for ‘change’ and ‘reform’ in the past few decades is really a) old stuff already rejected by the Framers and b) in its essence anti-Constitutional.

The Nanny State requires - not to put too fine a point on it - 'children', not Citizens. And 'victims' as well, as things have evolved over the past decades. This cannot end well for any society or nation - and I think you can see where so much has gone wrong in the past decades because the government has treated Americans like children and the Americans have - not to put too fine a point on it - accepted that role and that identity. Oy.

And from this purportedly ‘benevolently despotic’ Nanny government has flowed ‘preventive law’ and ‘risk-averse governance’ and the assorted Constitutional deformities – sex offense laws being only the most recent and egregious – that precisely presume – without daring to say so – that a) ‘the government’ can be trusted to exercise such despotic police powers wisely and that b) the ‘emergency’ doesn’t really allow Us to ask whether it can or it can’t, should or shouldn’t – but rather ‘we just have to do it’ or else ‘we just don’t get it’.

That sort of thing.

So again, this is what I think is going on and what is at stake in the work to roll back these SO laws. In rolling them back, We are also rolling back the profoundly anti-Constitutional trend that has gripped the nation for several long and frakked decades.*


*As if the Constitutional threats posed by the National Security State aren’t bad enough.


I’ve located the text of the International Violence Against Women Act and I’ll have a few thoughts in my next Post.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


The Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Oversight Committee (Delahunt: D, MA) announces in an Op-Ed that he is introducing a Bill to deal with an “epidemic” of ‘physical or sexual abuse’ of women; this is a Bill aimed at making ending violence against women “an integral component of American foreign policy”. *

A couple of thoughts.

The reduction of violence in any form in this world – and around the entire world – is a consummation devoutly to be wished. Every human being should be alert to the possibilities of contributing to that hugely valuable goal, starting with his/her own life and actions and whatever possibilities his/her political placement affords.

So let it be established for the purposes of this discussion that such a goal is genuinely noble and worthwhile, urgently to be embraced, and vigorously to be pursued.

However, that’s the easy part. Just how to go about achieving such an objective – vague and general as it may be – is where the hard thinking and figuring come in.

And that’s not where the Congressional competence shines, if its record over the past few decades is any indicator.

He describes the problem of violence as being – for his purposes here – one of violence against women. And OK to that. It’s not the only violence out there, but it’s certainly one component of humanity’s awful burden.

But he cites a statistic and uses some elastic definitions – and the SO community knows precisely what happens when that sort of thing starts getting thrown around the Beltway ballpark. “The United Nations reports that one of every three women worldwide will be physically or sexually abused in her lifetime”, he reports.

That’s an awful lot of human beings and an awful lot of ‘abuse’. But it would help to clarify just what ‘abuse’ means – We recall that ‘battering’ can include not-speaking over a telephone at this point. And what constitutes ‘physical’ abuse? ‘Sexual’ abuse?

I’m not being coy here. On the basis of this statistic and this kind of fuzzy terminology he asserts that violence against women is a world-wide “epidemic”. That’s a term from medical science, generally taken to denote a sudden, large-scale, virulent outbreak of some serious disease. Yet if any thought be given, this type of thing is what feminist history claims has been going on since not long after the beginning of human history; so unless there is some sudden spike in it, then this is a long-standing situation.

Which doesn’t make it right, but it also doesn’t make any old solution – the dangerous Whaaaatevvverrrr approach – the thing to erect into a national policy.

Especially since this Bill will be entitled “The International Violence Against Women Act”. I haven’t seen the text of the Bill anywhere yet, but the ‘International’ part certainly gives pause.
Given what We have seen in the various 1990s legislation passed in this country, I’m not sure it’s a wise idea to simply start trying to enforce such things on the world’s nations … and their governments. After all, at this point it appears with increasingly lurid clarity that the US can’t even get such an undeniably good thing as ‘democracy’ accepted and functionally established by this or that targeted nation and people and culture and sovereign government.

My concern is intensified as he continues, burbling that “this act would build on our success with the Violence Against Women Act”. That’s the 1994 Act – parts of which were soon found to be unconstitutional – about which Joe Biden brayed that “it may be a bad law but it sends a great message”.

Congressman Delahunt focuses on the good things: the Act “created a key national network of programs, including domestic violence shelters, rape crisis programs, and other support services”.

That was the ‘educational’ and ‘consciousness-raising’ aspect of it, yes. Although it has to be recalled that the Act thereby created national stature and government funding for a genuine panoplium of eager and angry ‘therapies’, including ‘repressed memory’ and ‘all men are rapists’ and ‘if you think you were then you were’ and ‘embrace your rage’ and ‘make them pay’ therapies, administered by that catch-all category of cadre ‘therapists’ who may have had solid training but quite possibly simply read ‘The Courage to Heal’ and reely reely want to ‘help’.

While this development is not totally negative, its downside has wrought far more damage to female as well as male maturity and to civic society and the American polity than any elites or the media care to acknowledge. Do We really want to unleash this on some foreign culture and society?

And can We back it up? Money is famously tight – to put it charitably – and surely We don’t expect the military to do the same type of enforcing ‘over there’ (wherever ‘there’ is) that the police have been doing over here.

Possibly the Act will deploy the same strategy as We have seen in the sex-offender laws: the feds will declare themselves ‘partners’ of the States and then threaten to cut off funds if their wishes aren’t complied with. Al Capone and his immediate predecessors fine-tuned this sort of thing quite some time ago.

But again, the Congressman (and he’s hardly alone) manages to not-mention the ‘enforcement’ consequences of the 1994 Act: domestic violence laws copied the assorted police-state tactics of far less reputable regimes of the world’s recent and unhappy past: arrest merely on the word of a complaining citizen; deprivation of property, resources, and children; ‘special courts’ that almost always seem to consider their warrant to be the severe handling of the accused; and registries. And all of this paved the way for the initiatives and impositions of the sex-offender mania.

The consequences of the 1994 Act have to be seen for what they truly are. Because if they are not – and they are not – then Congress may very well gallop gallantly and pridefully into an even worse situation than currently exists ‘here’.

While I am not happy with cultures and societies that enshrine any sort of violence, I can’t think that Congress and such few blunt instruments as it commands is going to have any more success “using law to eliminate gender” and “changing the discourse” and “altering the social imaginary” anywhere else in the world than it has had here. In fact, it will have even less success. And if We and the Honorable Congress have not examined carefully, clearly, and deliberately all of the consequences that have now taken up residence here, then We are going to wind up making a lot of people and societies and governments around the world rather mad at Us. And can you say Iraq War and Af-Pak?

And if the Talibaddies and their agitated excitements are not enough of a hornets’ nest, what will happen if We start profoundly irritating lots of the currently less-radicalized folk on the planet? And will their governments be able to maintain legitimacy among their own cultures and peoples if they try to placate Congress?

And when you step in and insist that such and such a long-established and deeply inculturated pattern be rooted up right now the chances are better than good that you are going to destabilize a lot of lives and diminish the local government authority. By now that has rather clearly proven to not-work, I would say.

After all, the original model for such radical intervention was the federal government’s rather sustained intervention in the South of the civil-rights era – especially from 1955 to 1965. But that was a purely domestic American matter and the federal government could muster sufficient influence and brute military force - recall Little Rock as well as the squadrons of FBI and other government agents that were poured into the South – and follow up with a vast matrix of profoundly cultural-changing laws and administrative policies. The US government has no such options (unless as I said they’re thinking of the Marines and the Mountain troops and Delta Force enforcing sex-offense laws) in other lands, on the turf of some other sovereign nation.

I am going to hazard the guess that there are ‘thinkers’ and ‘theorists’ even now who are assuring the Beltway movers and shakers that any sovereign government that permits such violence to continue has forfeited the right to exist, and that any culture targeted for such ‘reform’ deserves it.

And those assertions will be capped, as Congressman Delahunt implicitly reveals, by the cheerible certainty that it all worked so well ‘here’.

But it hasn’t quite done that over here.

And it is yet another hell-hot historical irony that just as some feminists*8 and even the staunchly progressive ‘American Prospect’ magazine*** are suggesting that it’s time to cool off and let the dust settle here, yet the Congress is planning to set the same fires elsewhere.

Perhaps, as happened with the entrenched military-industrial complex after the fall of the USSR, the established advocacies must be given employment and room to continue their quests … somewhere on the planet. And it’s the outrageously squandered 1990s all over again again.


Of course, it may also be that among the Beltway types it’s all about the ‘domestic value’ of passing such a law: it will play well in the Identity and Gender Politics’ equivalent of ‘Peoria’.

But Bush the Egregious misfigured the same thing about Iraq and Afghanistan, and the entire Beltway misunderestimated the costs and consequences of what looked at the time like the proverbial ‘nice little war in the Far East’ that would spackle up a national unity deeply corroded by decades of government-sponsored ‘culture and gender war’. But it didn’t.

And here We are.

And the current President, upon whom many had set such high hopes, is now planning to commit what are in effect the ‘last reserves’ of a staggering Army, although, he promises, only for a short time and then it will all be ‘won’.

In the immortal word of Dwight D. Eisenhower: "Yah."

It’s clear that nobody is willing to have the buck stop where they are presently sitting. Maybe the stopping of all the bucks – and We are indeed financially in deep doodoo – will solve the problem that nobody seems willing or able to stop.

But that comes at a terrible cost. As has so much other ‘progress’ over the past decades.

For that reason, I not only differ with the Congressman but wonder if he can possibly be serious when he asserts in his peroration that “passage of this act will not only save lives, but will improve US security at the same time”.

Congress and the President have proven incapable of saving lives and improving US security by taking effective measures in (including, possibly, effectively getting out of) the wars in Southwest Asia. Being thus in so unimpressive a position, does Congress now propose to start up another set of invasions, albeit this time not the occasionally successful military type but rather the spectacularly frakked culture and gender wars?

This may seem a little far afield for the SO community, but I would say that such a first impression is not accurate. The same mindset that drove the culture and gender wars and the assorted sex-offense and sex-violence manias and their matrix of laws is now pushing to actually internationalize the whole mess, again on the hugely overestimated power of the Congress and the government to impose profound change quickly and ‘surgically’, and on the hugely underestimated power of bad and predictable consequences to wreak havoc and weaken not only this country but other cultures and governments.

We might well suggest with John Adams that the best thing America can do is to refine her society and culture and politics and citizenry into a model that the other governments and peoples of the earth might be attracted to imitate if they wished.

Rather, as Adams said in the next sentence, than “going forth into the world seeking monsters to destroy”.

And the SO community knows only too well what happens when the Congress is persuaded to go after ‘monsters’, even if it has to create those very monsters through wildly inaccurate ‘Findings’ and short-sighted politicking that panders to the passions of a deliberately misinformed public.

That, I think, is what is at stake here.

But let me say in conclusion that Lincoln’s stated national objective at the end of his Second Inaugural holds my complete support: “To achieve a just and a lasting peace, among ourselves and with all nations”.

The only devil We face is in the details. Not in ‘the other gender’ or any selected ‘monsters’ that it may seem convenient to create.


*I seem to recall this title from a while back. It's possible this is a re-introduction of a Bill that failed to gain passage or consideration in an earlier Congress. I'll look for the text and see.

**See my Post on Janet Halley dated 11/23/09 on this site.

***See my Post on my other site here.