Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Zimmerman trial, Gun Control, Rand Paul and my recent irritation

    The few of you who occasionally read this blog may know that I do not write about current events; that's not what this blog is about -- usually. But a recent confluence of events have reached critical mass inside the confines of my cerebral cortex, necessitating a relief of pressure -- I think of the old Simpsons episode where Homer is working at home and is repeatedly asked by his computer whether to vent radioactive gas. I perceive myself as an excessively agreeable person, and I admit that friends/acquaintances of  mine may think I agree with them when I don't, with the exception of anything having to do with Ayn Rand's philosophy, which I openly despise.
      The Zimmerman trial brings out a number of issues I had hoped to leave behind me when I left my old neighborhood in Kentucky, the state represented by Rand Paul. So, what's the problem? Well, we just had this big thing with gun control...
        Being a member, or even the head, of a neighborhood watch does not make you Dirty Harry, for God's sake. The idea that we have neighborhoods, maybe even my own,  where young men, not police, who want to be heroes, are prowling the streets at night with loaded guns looking for trouble scares the shit out of me. It's blindingly obvious to me that Martin was killed for being out at 7:15 pm while being a young black male. If Zimmerman were not allowed to have a gun, he likely would have allowed the police to handle the situation -- with the most likely outcome that Martin would be alive  today and Zimmerman would not be on trial.
       Now, what does this have to do with Rand Paul? Well, my home state has a long tradition of racism and an active gun culture -- and Rand Paul panders to them. The recent revelation that his social media advisor, 'The Southern Avenger', someone who actually wrote that John Wilkes Booth's heart was in the right place when he assassinated Lincoln, brings out the seamy underside of conservative Kentucky politics and the wink-and-nod racism endemic to it. The fact is, while this revelation may be bad for Paul in nationwide elections, it is a boon to him in Kentucky. My claim is that the current incarnation of libertarianism in the US, represented by Paul, connects racism, gun rights, a rollback of the Great Society and the defense of Zimmerman's actions.
      The fact that part of this country is still trying to win the wrong side of the Civil War under the guise of libertarianism gives 'libertarianism' a bad name. The sensation caused by the Zimmerman trial, and the racial divide in opinion as to his guilt, whether the State made its case etc.., highlights, to me at least, the fact that libertarianism, connected with gun rights etc..,is also connected in the US with racism.
       And then there's capitalism...Thomas Jefferson, in some ways a progenitor of modern libertarianism, with all his faults, warned against the domination of our economy by 'moneyed incorporations' in a justly famous pronouncement; he would undoubtedly be disheartened by the turn libertarianism has taken toward those interests. In an earlier interview, Paul, when asked about the Civil Rights Act -- you'd think a libertarian would favor it -- opposed the antidiscrimination law because he is 'in favor of private property', i.e., businesses should have the right to discriminate if they want to! There is thus more than a tenuous connection between racism, gun rights, and supporting the personhood of business.
        This is not to say that all hunters and MBA's are racists, it's that the usual libertarian way of defending gun rights and pure capitalism, 'tyrannical nanny state trying to steal my liberty' etc... is connected with racism. It's time I made clear I see what you're up to and I hate it!
      

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