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Eyes on the Prize

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Among the thousands of internet and media articles that I have read during the three and a half years of co-editing The Crisis Papers, one passage stands out in my mind as especially repugnant:

"[I]n the 20th century the rich were the class most persecuted by government. The class genocide of the 20th century is the greatest genocide in history."

By this account, Bill Gates and Donald Trump are more pitiable victims of injustice than Anne Frank, and New Deal/Great Society regulation of commerce is a greater atrocity than the extermination of millions of innocent victims in the Nazi holocaust.

The author of that scrap of moral garbage is Paul Craig Roberts, a libertarian, former contributing editor for the National Review and the Wall Street Journal, and formerly an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under Ronald Reagan.

Roberts is also a steadfast and eloquent critic of the Bush Administration and an invaluable ally in the ongoing struggle to overthrow Bushism. I read his frequent articles with great interest and appreciation, and usually with almost complete agreement. Thus I was shocked when I encountered those abhorrent words in his essay, "Who Will Save America?," an essay which is otherwise quite admirable.

Oh well, nobody's perfect!

Many of the more than one-hundred respondents to Roberts' posting of the article in The Smirking Chimp, found such sentiments, or his former affiliations, to be reason enough to serve Roberts a dishonorable discharge from the army of opposition to the Busheviks.

This response typifies the combination of uncompromising self-righteousness and strategic myopia that might well lead to another Democratic debacle next November, and again in 2008.

For myself, I would say to Paul Craig Roberts: despite our disagreements, let's work together to throw the rascals out in November and then to restore the rule of law and a civil, responsible politics. Then we can move on and deal with our differences in open and honest debate.

The triumph of Republican regressivism in the past quarter century has been due to a number of factors familiar to most of us:

*A ruthless disregard of civility, traditional political decorum, and even (when they could get away with it) the law, in a relentless determination, as Tom DeLay put it, not merely to defeat, but to destroy their political opponents.

*Concentration, intimidation and control of the mainstream media.

*A formidable advantage in campaign funding.

*Extraordinary party discipline in the Congress.

*Consummate political salesmanship, including the framing of political debate and the manipulation of language, which succeeded in persuading millions of middle class and poor Americans to vote against their self interest and to sanction the flow of their personal wealth to the very rich.

*And finally, the ability to keep intact a coalition of unlikely allies. In contrast, the leadership of the Democratic Party (such as it is) has proven incapable of imposing a truce among its many factions and redirecting their attention toward a common purpose.

While I have written several essays about the above factors, in this essay I will focus attention on that final factor: coalition-building.

Will Rogers famously remarked, "I belong to no organized party - I am a Democrat." And to be sure, Democrats have been often shown an uncanny ability to form circular firing squads.

Two personal experiences exemplify this problem.

Several weeks ago, I was drawn into an e-mail chat group devoted to the issue of election fraud, an issue about which I am profoundly concerned and have written extensively. Soon thereafter, my In-Box was flooded with messages from within the group, the vast majority of which were trivial responses back and forth. Most notable, however, was the acrimony within the group: defenders and critics of Rep. Rush Holt and his election reform bill, defenders and critics of Bev Harris and her "Black Box Voting" web site. And most heatedly, advocates of hand counted paper ballots (HCPB) vs. defenders of Optical Scan Voting. As long as such in-group bickering continues, the RNC and Karl Rove can only smile, as the privatized "fix" of our elections proceeds without challenge. However, once this enthusiasm and energy are directed outward to state legislators, prosecutors, and the media, they can provide a lever of significant reform.

Three weeks ago, I posted an essay: "The 9/11 Conspiracy - A Skeptical View." In the essay, I examined both the "official view" (OV) of the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks on September 11, 2001, and the more prominent of the "conspiracy theories" (CT) which accuse agencies within the US government of planning and implementing the attacks. While I found problems of evidence and inference in both OV and CT and was convinced of neither, I was strongly inclined to accept the official account of a Boeing 757 hitting the Pentagon, and slightly disposed to accept the official explanation that the World Trade Center towers fell solely as a result of the impact of the hijacked airliners.

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Dr. Ernest Partridge is a consultant, writer and lecturer in the field of Environmental Ethics and Public Policy. Partridge has taught philosophy at the University of California, and in Utah, Colorado and Wisconsin. He publishes the website, "The (more...)

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