On American Conservatism: A Eulogy
By Starling 1269
There exists on the American right a fundamental hypocrisy which I think can be exemplified in a topical manner by their treatment of refugees. They claim to uphold American traditions yet deny the simple fact that America has a long history of being a nation of refugees. Many on the right are now fearing an incoming wave of refugees from Afghanistan, and more broadly from a resurgent Taliban and ISIS beyond Afghanistan. They fear that allowing these people in would change the character of America, when that couldn’t be further from the truth. It did not change the character of America to allow in two million Irish refugees fleeing an Gorta Mór. Nor did it change the character of America to allow in four million Italian refugees. Though, it could certainly be said that the arrival on these shores of some one hundred British refugees fleeing religious strife certainly changed the character of the land.
They claim to be champions of Christian values, but consistently fail to practice the Christian ideal of unconditional and selfless love of our brothers, of the misfortunate, of the outcast and wretched, of strangers.
Selfless, and indeed self-sacrificial, love is one of the defining cores of Christian values. Of Christianity itself, even, as exemplified in John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Agape as a foundational value of Christian morality is second perhaps only to the calls for humility or the belief in redemption.
I would not recognize this modern populist, hyper-capitalist to the extreme of social darwinist, selfish, and, indeed, soulless and hypocritical conservatism as being the same philosophical and political tradition of Burke, Lincoln, Russel Kirk, or John Adams. I see it as little more than the cult of Reagan and/or Trump. I say this even as someone who is a registered Republican, as someone who voted for Trump in 2016. As someone who was truly a conservative, and legitimately felt that there was room for compassionate conservatism, for conservatism with a soul. To a certain extent, I am saying this because I am that way.
I have certainly embraced liberalism more as a result of my coming to terms with my identity, and my progressive leanings that were more or less always there. I have also become far more empathetic than I once was, but I think the real breakaway from conservatism for me was simply realizing that so many of the conservatives that I surrounded myself with, and whose content I consumed regularly, were actually just—kind of assholes. Since coming out as trans I have lost quite a lot of friends, and unfollowed quite a lot more commentators, and have become rather uncomfortably aware of just how intolerant and bigoted these people actually were. Not just like groypers, Stonetoss, Fuentes, and trad caths—because I knew that beforehand, but even people I once respected. Like Ben Shapiro, Steven Crowder, Mark Dice, Tucker Carlson, Dennis Prager, etc. seem to me now to be obviously and undeniably shitasses. To greater or lesser extents, of course. I think to a certain extent I knew that they were, especially Crowder, but just gave them the benefit of the doubt. Because, I still truly believed that they represented the living and vibrant and compassionate conservatism. Some people might, but I can no longer feel comfortable endorsing A GOP that isn’t really grand or old anymore.
My politics have not changed, not really. I am still a capitalist, I still support robust gun and speech rights, I still value Christian thought and traditional values, I still believe in American exceptionalism, I still think that the left is out of its gourd, and now have much more personal reasons to oppose them pushing the envelope well past breaking point on stuff like LGBT issues. See my treatise on Pink Capitalism in Temporal Times Issue #5 for my takes on that.
I just call myself a liberal now, because I cannot help but think that some slight policy differences from the norm are not such a big deal compared to the sisyphean task of trying to coax life into a fallow garden while everyone around you is sowing salt.
The Italo-Irish Conspiracy to Destroy our Country: Part 2
By Pink And Black
In my last article I wrote about the history of Italo-Irish Conspiracy and it’s origins. This article will seek to describe the harm done by this plot and how it is responsible for most, if not all vices in our country.
Let’s start with some basic statistics. Despite making up only 9.7% of the population, the Irish are responsible for 37% of all crimes. Italians are only 5.2% of the population, yet 79% of America’s top 100 banks are owned by Italians. The field of statistics only employs 26,970 people, despite 99.99% of statistics being made up on the spot. With these stats it should be obvious that everything bad in our society is the fault of the axis of evil. However, I know that many of you unenlightened dingi still doubt my mind-numbing genius. So let’s break this down into the sins of the Irish, and the sins of the Italians.
The Irish are weak, pathetic creatures. Barely capable of even lifting a single pound, they make money by stealing it from women and children. They beat them in the street with their powerful Irish bodies and take their money. Of course, they are used for more than just muggings. They are the blunt weapons of their Italian employers. Whenever something needs to be done, the Italians will call them in. Examples include starting and fighting in wars to holding big parades to corrupt our children.
In fact, let’s take a closer look at these parades. Called “St. Patrick’s Day” this holiday seeks to promote Irish “culture” (of course this culture is really just violence and alcoholism). One example of how terrible this day can be is the practice of using violence on those who are not wearing green on this day. If you think this practice would be limited to adults, you’d be wrong. Young children are subjected to incredible acts of violence for refusing to bow to the wishes of the Irish. This is an act of terror, on par with that witnessed in George Orwell’s 1984.
The Italians, in contrast, are manipulators. They have wormed their slimy tendrils into society, operating evil corporations and running the government. Barnes & Noble, Airbnb, Subway, and The Home Depot are just a few examples of these terrible businesses. They are known for maliciously sabotaging other businesses, so much so that the name Barnes & Noble is spoken in hushed voices. As for the political sphere, stop me if you’ve heard any of these names before: Ted Cruz, Joe Manchin, Nancy Pelosi, Ron DeSantis, Mike Pompeo, Andrew Cuomo, Chris Christie. Most of the top politicians in the US are Italians. Take one politician, Andrew Cuomo. When he was confronted about his sexual harassment of women, he defended himself by saying, “I’m not perverted, I’m only Italian.” If this doesn’t give you an indication of how foul these people are, nothing will.
Italians and the Irish. The two menaces of society. I hope this little article has enlightened you to the truth. If you have liked my articles or want to learn more, please visit howtostopbeingdumb.com.
What If Sovereign Citizens Are Right?
This fringe movement may be ridiculous, but it might also see the problems with government we overlook
“I am the Living Man,” says Ernie Tertelgte, “The name that Mr. Riley refers to, ma’am, is held by the state in all capital letters, and is identified by the state on the state’s driver’s license, ma’am. I am not the all-capital fiction. I am the living man, whose mark is that of Life. It is called a signature and the nature of that sigil, ma’am, is the living person. It is never in all capital letters.”
Tertelgte is addressing the judge at Three Forks City in Montana, in order to correct a lawyer (Mr. Riley) who has mistakenly addressed him as “Mister Tertelgte.” You see, “Mr. Tertelgte” refers to the name printed on state identification documents, which is a legal fiction that Tertelgte rejects. His explanation may sound convoluted, but it’s actually part of a movement of people to assert their liberty from state control to which they did not consent.
Since taking his stand in court, Ernie Tertelgte has become one of the most prominent figures in a movement generally known as Sovereign Citizens. (With his deep, rustic voice, long beard, tri-corner hat and old-fashioned clothing, he certainly makes a memorable personality.) Most of us have probably seen a few of these people in viral videos, attempting to escape law enforcement or the court system with their distinctive calls of “Am I being detained?” “Am I free to go?” “I am not driving, I am travelling!” “I do not consent!” and “I am not subject to your jurisdiction!”
There are sovereign citizens of many different political persuasions, ages, races, genders, religions and backgrounds. They also go by different names: Free Men on the Land, Sovereigns, or many other titles. But all of them share a common tenet: they believe that they are not subject to the states in which they live, that said states are corrupt and illegitimate, and therefore they have the right not to be bound by that state’s laws or codes. In practice, this usually means that Sovereign Citizens will avoid paying taxes, displaying license plates on their cars, or paying child support. Many of them believe the government has accumulated millions or billions of dollars in their name through secret international investments, which they can reclaim with the right, esoteric paperwork to become rich, or at least free from debt.
As you might guess, these people are very much wrong in their conceptions of the law and their rights, which is why their efforts to evade arrest or prosecution fail constantly and spectacularly. As of the time of publication, no Sovereign Citizen has succeeded in avoiding a speeding ticket by saying they do not consent, dismissing a felony charge by pointing out the gold fringe on the court’s flag, or becoming a billionaire by signing diagonally across a letter to the Federal Reserve in red ink. These and many other techniques are things that SovCits believe will free them from government tyranny, such as having to get a fishing license.
All of this has led to Sovereign Citizens being easy targets for online commenters and reaction videos, thanks to many SovCits’ habits of meticulously video recording and documenting their encounters with the law. It’s very easy to point, stare and laugh at these weirdos and point out the many ways that they have misunderstood the world. It’s even easier to scorn them when you realize that while many of them are more or less harmless cranks, some are con artists, grifters or dangerous reactionaries – people who should not be allowed to do harm.
But if you listen to them long enough, you will occasionally detect a valid point about a problem with the government or society buried under their jargon. This is especially true if you are someone who is critical of the present government and police system, or if you believe that the state should not have a monopoly on the use of force.
Sovereign Citizens usually speak or write in dense clouds of words filled with all sorts of strange and outdated terms. They make reference to obscure laws or traditions, many of which are no longer in effect or misinterpreted based on a hyper-specific reading of a particular clause. Because of this, their worldview and principles typically take a very long time to explain and appear to be gibberish to the uninitiated. (Investigating a Sovereign’s beliefs more deeply will reveal that they are, in fact, gibberish, but I digress.)
But despite all their esoteric rhetoric, if you step back from their precise arguments and look at the broader trends of what these people are looking for, you will notice that they are fumbling around in their own misguided ways for a solution to a societal problem.
Like many regressive right-wing conspiracy movements (such as QAnon, the flat earth movement, or the recent anti-mask protesters), Sovereign Citizens have correctly recognized widespread, systemic issues that the mainstream elements of society would rather ignore.
Many SovCits are lower-middle class or poor, and have seen that the American Dream that they grew up with has not come true despite their efforts. Many are in debt, perhaps due to low incomes and unemployment, or perhaps due to medical bills racked up through no fault of their own in a private medical system. Most experience the alienation and instability of being a worker under late-stage capitalism. And common to all of them is the recognition that the government and the law have not been serving their interests, yet have been serving the wealthy and powerful.
This is the point that Sovereign Citizens get right: they recognize that the state and its laws are not set up to serve us, but do serve a select elite at the top. All of us, to one degree or another, recognize this too.
We have all seen how, in times of crisis, our governments can will trillions of dollars into existence to keep banks and multi-national corporations afloat, yet insist that people in need tighten their belts to make ends meet. We see how legislators cater to lobbyists in order to give great benefits to businesses while rolling back protections for those businesses’ workers. We notice how the police are quick to respond to crimes committed against businesses but often slow and ineffective at addressing domestic robberies, assaults or other infractions.
All of us see these things, even if it is on a subconscious level. The crooked cop, the slick lawyer, the
biased justice system and the paid-off politician are all archetypes of modern culture. We recognize on a social level that this is How Things Work, practically speaking. And if we are anything other than white, straight, cisgender and male, these problems hit at us in even more severe ways. The difference between the average person and the Sovereign Citizen is that the SovCit has decided that they are going to do something about it.
That “something” is inevitably wrong, because the movement in all its forms is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of how the government, the judicial system and the economy are structured. But what SovCits are seeking, in essence, is the right to the special protections, privileges and shortcuts that wealthy and powerful people and institutions now enjoy. They accept the premises that the law should apply equally to all and that Justice is blind, and since they see that a class of powerful people is functionally exempt from the law (while still enjoying its protections), they expect to be exempt the law too.
With this context in mind, Sovereign Citizens’ actions begin to make sense. If someone like Larry Ellison can ignore nighttime noise ordinances when taking off or landing in his private aircraft, why should a freeman on the land be expected to register a driver’s license? If mining companies can file an endless stream of appeals and petitions to avoid being held accountable for environmental damages, why should the Sovereign Citizen not file thousands of pages of nonsense with the courts to avoid paying a debt collector? If a bank is allowed to foreclose on a home mortgage when they knew that the buyer would not be able to pay, why shouldn’t a sovereign file a fraudulent lien on some sap’s house? If the elites have found the cheat codes to the system, then these SovCits should be allowed to use them.
Because of this, they have constructed a kind of cargo cult of the judicial system. If they say the right combination of words and file the right documents in just the right order, Justice will come.
None of these activities will actually bring about the kind of social change that Sovereign Citizens imagine, since their efforts are fragmented and rooted in a narrow, extremely individual sense of liberty. Really, most SovCits don’t seek to change the system at all but rather to exit it and leave the rest of the world to itself.
The real key to finding justice is to recognize that we the people – working people – all have a shared interest in working together and helping one another. Only by organizing together can we successfully lobby for better wages and working conditions, secure universal healthcare and forgiveness of debts, and ultimately, take hold of the privileges that are now reserved only for an elite class.
Only then can we all actually be sovereign.