The Deconstructionist Party
December 7, 2001
While thinking up the theme of this article, it occured to
me that Republicans have totally abandoned the aura of being
able to manage finances. This was not always the case. Republicans
long clung to the reputation of Margaret Thatcher as proof
that, were the Democrats not in control of the House of Representatives,
that budget deficits simply would not have happened.
Though this claim was dubious, the principle beneath it was
quite simple: Democrats tax and spend. Republicans spend wisely
and keep budgets under control.
Well, of course, we know that isn't true at all. What commentators
have said recently is that cutting taxes is what the Republican
Party is all about; indeed, it cannot really decide on anything
else significant enough to hold together about.
The subtext of this is that religious conservatives want
to starve the state, primarily because the state competes
with religion. Driving the state out of the public square
will leave room for religion to prosper. Where science and
accountability reign not, faith reigns. Economic conservatives,
on the other hand, of which I was once one (sort of), genuinely
believe that greed is good and greed works. They believe that
cutting taxes is the key to economic growth. The main problem
with this is that when push comes to shove, they want to cut
the taxes of those least likely to benefit, even from the
point of view of the creators of the modern theory of diminishing
Put another way, taxes can be too high, but they can also
be too low. Obviously, vastly reducing corporate taxation
and individual taxation for the wealthy is of little broad
economic value. Let us not forget that cutting out estate
taxes is also a key part of this agenda. The principle seems
simple enough: Massage the wealthy, get contributions, get
votes, and make sure one's own rich family thrives for decades
It's not theoretically sound, but it sure feels good for
the ones doing it.
The real problem is in the field of law. Men like Bush and
Ashcroft are what are called "strict constructionists."
I think I've already alluded to a Reinquist document for the
Nixon administration that said that what this boils down to
is being anti-criminal and anti-civil rights. What it's supposed
to mean is that those who follow this philosophy try to interperet
the Constitution to its elementary, core principles.
Reality is a little different: strict constructionists want
to destroy everything that was implemented beyond their fundamentalist
Lately, though, I've noticed something even more. What Ashcroft
is currently doing is trying to take the Constitution back
to before there was a Republic. How can you be a Republican
and want something more primieval than the Republic? Well,
that's a good question. However, the principle enunciated
by Bush that, "The forms of liberty must not be allowed to
be used by terrorists to destroy liberty itself," is a blanket
repudiation of the right to due process. After all, how could
anyone argue against not allowing the forms of justice to
be used to combat justice itself?
The Republic does not differentiate between the two.
What Ashcroft is trying to do is to establish as a fundamental
principle that a) rights do not belong to non-citizens, and
b) due process is a weapon used by the guilty to victimize
society. These ideas are stark repudiations of core principles
of American jurisprudence, yet Ashcroft has placed his full
confidence behind them. Why?
The simple answer is that a man of God does not particularly
appreciate the "forms of liberty" getting in the way of punishing
the guilty. This former prosecutor is not permitted to spiritually
repudiate the guilty beyond a certain point, though he seems
to have set aside terrorists into a different category of
"evil men" against whom all is permitted, because they are
evil. They are also not Christian, which can't help. He, Bush,
and others in the cabinet, seem addicted to two things: religion
that bars them from excessive spiritual condemnation, and
temporal justice inflicted at their command.
I'm sure most of you readers have not forgotten the glee
with which Bush described excecuting criminals in Texas in
the first presidential debate. His religion permits him to
enjoy the destruction of human beings without feeling spiritual
or moral guilt for it. This is because they are bad; however,
it is also because he can pray for their souls and bump responsibility
for more serious moral and ethical questions to God. Thusly,
he can enjoy himself in good conscience.
I imagine that the excecution of criminals, even the plans
for the swift frontier justice trials and quick excecutions
for criminals, makes him a genuinely happy man. I'm sure that
Rumsfeld likes hearing about men shot to death and bombed
to bits. Ashcroft likely enjoys having mass numbers of people
in detention at his whim because they may be guilty. Rice
must truly enjoy morality in action. Cheney can just count
the money being earned by American corporations for the replacement
of bomb stocks and aviation fuel, as well as a damned good
war being supported vigorously by the American People, as
they well should. Wolfowitz? Mind-blowing orgasms from watching
The only man I know for sure who isn't enjoying this is Colin
Powell. Pentagon warrior though he was for much of his career,
he was in 'Nam and knows what the real thing is like. Real
warriors don't court war lightly, nor do they retain child-like
enjoyment of it.
Back to the main point. These people enjoy their work. The
core Cabinet does not like the rule of law shackling them
from doing what they think is right for America. With this
thought firmly planted in their minds, with the religious
among them firmly committed to the withering away of the state
(irony intended), with the economic among them confined to
the wilderness but supportive of the general effort and deeply
enjoying the grabbing of the important powers while the American
People are still on board and minding their own business,
with their allies throughout law enforcement and the judiciary
(including a long list of nominees) prepared to calcify their
dogma, these people are committed to nothing less than the
bit by bit deconstruction of the Republic.
This is not to say that a dictatorship is favored. It is
not. They haven't thought that far. Their opposition to the
state is so based in self-interest, self-image, ideology,
religion, and habit, that they have no idea what they're going
to do when they actually succeed. They imagine that religion
will prosper, the wealthy will prosper, and the country, because
of those two things, will, itself, prosper greatly, and nothing
will be needed to be worried about, because that's for other
people to handle, like entrepreneurs. The government should
simply stand aside and let the chips fall where they may.
A return to the early Republic, minus slavery, but modified
to exclude from justice those who are not citizens to force
immigrants to play ball, will be a return to a lost Golden
Age where money was easy, resources were cheap, and the American
Family was strong. God was almighty; no atheist stood any
chance whatsoever of having a productive public life because
of the revulsion at such people that would be caused by their
prominence. Religious schools were dominant throughout the
land. Men were Men, and Women were Women. All knew their place
and all prospered. Government was small; except for war, relatively
insignificant. Those needing charity were told to work for
it or to turn themselves over to God's mercy. Souls were saved.
The spiritual food of Man was plentiful and everywhere. America
was Good, and Complete.
This is the vision of the Deconstructionist Party.
However, not only do they not understand the early Republic,
they don't appreciate the original intent of the Constitution,
either. They can't! Look at what they're doing. They see their
actions as completely consistent with the vision of the Founding
Fathers, a malleable Constitution to fit the needs of the
day that requires strong, central leadership and long-term
vision to chart the long course back to America's Golden Age,
a Golden Age that not only is a fantasy in itself, but which
to achieve, requires destroying the principles of the Republic
These men and women are enjoying the tastes of tyranny that
they are being currently exposed to. What's to say that their
centralizing power won't result in it being a permanent shift,
an end to the Separation of Powers doctrine? They had a taste
before, under Bush Sr., but he wasn't ambitious enough to
go the full distance. Jr. seems to have what it takes, so
they'll ride him as far as he'll go. Then what?
Also, deconstructionism means that everything that stands
now is expendable. I can't even begin to list what's up for
destruction for this ideal, which I try not to call utopian
out of a respect for the actual history of the word. If you
want a good example of their idea of women's rights, look
at the wives they keep and the cheerleaders at Texan universities.
That's women's rights. Racial issues? I could sum it up under
the slogan of, "We're All White Now, So What's The Problem?"
International relations? Who cares what they think. We're
Americans. Due process for criminals? They're CRIMINALS! Why
do they need due process, anyway?
I'll stop now.
Seriously, it's way too long to list, but please, don't underestimate
the breadth of what's up for grabs here. Deconstructionism
is serious business, and is accepted at such a fundamental
emotional level by so-called Republicans that they can't understand
that this path is a one-way ticket to hell. Deconstructionism
will take the Republic with it; this is so obvious that their
inability to see it shows how deeply they resent the limitations
that the Republic has placed upon them.
When you destroy a Republic to save it, someday you wake
up and realize that there's nothing left to save, but yourself.
I am where I sit today, ideologically speaking, because I
refused to be a destroyer instead of a builder. Were I a Roman,
or a Byzantine, or an ancient Chinese scholar, or a 19th century
Zulu tribesman, I would make the same choice. It is a choice
I will never regret.
Where do you stand?
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