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Thank you, Rand Paul (from a historian)

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Enrique Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 02:01 PM
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Thank you, Rand Paul (from a historian)
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/van-gosse/thank-you-rand-...

Rand Paul is a gift to historians. As a candidate he embodies some of the longest-lasting, most picturesque -- and most reactionary and dangerous -- elements of the American political tradition: contempt for government; veneration of personal property over all else; freedom defined as the absence of restraint, meaning the 'freedom' to exploit.

(...)

The real ancestors of the Pauls, Sarah Palin, and the rest of the Tea Partiers are the antebellum Jacksonian Democrats, who drew on the "Old Republican" tradition of Southern slaveholders. Deeply concerned about threats to their way of life, they accused national government supporters of "monarchical" tendencies, and authored the doctrine of states' rights and nullification of federal authority. Sound familiar?

Like today's Tea Party, Jacksonians considered themselves the inheritors of the American Revolution. Above all, they venerated private property of two types. First was the land they had extorted at gunpoint, following massacres, from the Southern Indians, who mistakenly thought federal treaties protected them. The second form of property was the slave labor that turned the forests of Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana into the "Cotton Kingdom" after Jackson's armies expelled the Indians. Led by Mississippi Senator Jefferson Davis, the men who rose to power on the wealth slaves created broke up the Union rather than accepting Lincoln's victory.

Jacksonians like Davis believed in their rights, as white men, over everyone else--their women, children and slaves, the Indians, the land itself. They asserted that this was America's identity: conquering nature, accumulating wealth and ruling over others. They wanted only enough government, under their control, to protect them in these endeavors. Anything else they viewed as treason. To libertarians and Jacksonians alike, freedom belongs to those who can take it, and practicing freedom means having the liberty to make money any way you can.

(...)

It is a short move from that brand of vicious demagoguery to Palin's telling white rural audiences in 2008 that only they were the "real Americans" and instructing her followers after health care reform passed: "don't retreat, just reload." The Pauls' antigovernment rhetoric about the income tax and the Federal Reserve stokes the Patriot movement, which denies the authority of the federal government entirely. The benighted "Patriot" trucker Jerry Kane and his son, who both died in a shootout with police May 22, are only the most recent casualties in the long history of Jacksonianism.

"States' rights," a glorification of the private interest over the public good, and race hatred are certainly, historically speaking, American, but there's nothing "constitutional" or "conservative" about them. So, I would like to thank Rand Paul for bringing history so vividly to contemporary light, if only I didn't think these elements of our history were far better left in the past.
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redqueen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 02:23 PM
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1. So very well written. K&R (nt)
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nadinbrzezinski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 02:27 PM
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2. I have written this as well in the past
they are a direct line to the antebellum and the way the country is looking is increasingly like the 1850s, militias and all.

I see I am not alone...

:-)

Oh and a few round these parts will laugh at this too... after all history, shmistory.... It never repeats itself exactly the same way... but it has definite echos.
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nadinbrzezinski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 03:01 PM
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3. kick
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redqueen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 04:49 PM
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4. Kick
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