e-Article No. 3

Empire of Reason e-Article No. 3

December 22, 2020

From: Connecticut Committee of Correspondence[1]

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Torture and Democracy in America

By Mark Albertson

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To those who support torture in the furtherance of America’s bankrupt agenda of foreign policy, should keep in mind that such government sanctioned tactics will eventually find their way back to our shores. . . Mark Albertson

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This e-Article was originally published as a page-long article in the Norwalk, Connecticut newspaper, The Hour, page A8, Wednesday, February 18, 2015. E-Article No. 3 is a continuation of e-Article No. 2.

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 On January 21, a contributor from Wilton took a position contrary to a pair of commentaries offered by myself on January 5 and January 14 in reference to the December 11, 2014 daily poll which appeared in The Hour pertaining to the issue of torture.

 This writer criticized my analysis of this issue and my summary of the United States in general, which culminated in the fact that America, as a superpower, is also an empire. A number of folks have approached me with regards to these commentaries, soliciting conversation, opinion and criticism. Thus far, favorability runs about 4 to 1, with many apparently understanding the meaning and progression by which I characterized America taking Manifest Destiny from an agenda of continental expansion in the 19th century to a program of globalism into the 20th. And in so doing joining that club of imperialist powers to become a global power, and then a superpower and finally, an empire; a chronology the Wilton writer saw fit to characterize as an “obtuse hodge-podge of events.”

 Yet he also referenced—and quite correctly—“that in this nuclear age, the world has gotten smaller and more dangerous?” He continues with, “On the subject of torture my own feeling is this: The world is always in a state of flux” (again he is correct), “and we must change with it! In the real world there are times when the ends justifies the means and the use of torture is the only solution.”

 This admitted justification for torture is based on the America that currently exists as laid out in my earlier commentaries. So we must be in agreement here; an America whose foreign policy agenda is charted by monolithic financial institutions and corporations. And the American public? Many are not in flux, being apathetic, sedentary and disillusioned—as evidenced by the 36 percent participation rate in the last elections; while others are ill-informed, under-informed or not informed . . . Genuine change in America’s fortunes—and not of the ersatz variety as promised by that Wall Street dissembler from Chicago who won the presidential sweepstakes in 2008, beating out a lackluster GOP ticket—will come only when the American people recapture their revolutionary roots, seeking comfort and inspiration in the words of “The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America.”[2]

 For instance, in singling out George III, “The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America” lays out a colonial grievance towards the Crown with the clause, “imposing taxes without our consent.” An historical parallel currently exists in contemporary America. Following World War II, for every dollar individuals paid, corporations paid $1.50. Now for every dollar individuals pay, corporations contribute 25 cents. Leaving the poor, working class and middle class to shoulder much of the burden of the budget. Shows who runs the country when GE (General Extortion) can reap—between 2008-2013–$33,903,000,000 in U.S. profits and enjoy a tax rate of -9 percent.

 Then there is Christy Walton, one of the clique of feudalists who lords over the realm of Walmart. She makes $1.3 million per day; while remitting many of her indentured servants to the public dole for food stamps and Medicaid to make ends meet; a shift of corporate obligations onto American taxpayers. The result: Austerity for the masses, corporate socialism for the plutocrats.

 Another issue with which I will take odds with this writer from Wilton is his use of the word “Democracy.” Again with reference to torture, this writer states, “Democracy should not be inflexible.” One must infer here, that he is depicting America as a Democracy. This nation is labeled as such on a daily basis; and this includes such pronouncements from the current chief executive, who is reputed to be a constitutional lawyer. I can understand why the president’s predecessor did not understand such concepts, but not Chicago’s favorite son. For the Founding Fathers did not intend this Nation to be a Democracy, to which:

 1) This Nation used to be referred to as the Grand Republic, not the Grand Democracy.

 2) The recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance is towards a Democracy? A Republic?

 3) Go to the Debate on the Constitutional Convention, Part One, pages 129-163 (Library of America version), “A Citizen of America,” by Noah Webster, Philadelphia, October 17, 1787. Webster lays out in detail the aspects and construct of the American Republic.

 4) Refer to The Federalist, a plethora of references and details of the fledgling new nation as a Republic abound, such as those found in Federalist No. 14, pages 83-89; Federalist No. 39, pages 250-257 and Federalist No. 57, pages 384-389. (Consult bibliography.)

 5) Consult the Constitution. The blueprint of the American Republican form of government is here for all to see. And not once does the word “Democracy” appear in this document.

 One must conclude, then, that if America is not a Democracy, then who in blazes gave us the right to pronounce, in 2003, that we were going to impose such a form of government on a nation such as Iraq?

 If Americans truly desire a functioning form of Representative Government, then they need to educate themselves, get acquainted with their political system, and then take part, even to the extent of building new parties. But none of this will work unless Americans recapture that revolutionary spirit. Change will come only when they become revolutionary.

 This does not necessarily require taking to the streets to throw up barricades . . . though it is their revolutionary right to do so.[3]But a popular understanding of their Constitution and Bill of Rights and, “The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America” is called for. For instance, refer to Amendment VIII of the Constitution. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

 The argument can certainly be made that the last six words of this amendment can be construed as frowning on Americans engaging in torture as a method of “cruel and unusual punishment?” And then there is our own, “The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America.” Here is a true example of American Exceptionalism; as opposed to the popular model based on a crass form of commercialism which pervades this Nation daily and passes for an American ideal. This document served as a beacon for the “Declaration of the Right of Man and Citizen,” August 26, 1789. Inspired 19th century revolutionaries to action in Europe in 1820-1821, 1829-1834 and during the 1848 Springtime of Nations; upheavals brought forth by Europeans of many languages seeking to throw off centuries of tyrannical misery imposed upon them by a parochial circle of royal privilege, including that of the Papal States with its ghettoes for Jewish people, a particularly deliberate form of social incarceration which later served as an model for the Nazis. Too, Jefferson’s handiwork was referenced by Ho Chi Minh as a model for the Vietnamese Declaration of Independence which was read in Hanoi on September 2, 1945.

 To those who support torture in the furtherance of America’s bankrupt agenda of foreign policy, must be cognizant of the fact that such government sanctioned behavior will eventually find its way back to our shores; a favored method of coercion by which an unprincipled regime of wolves asserts it will over the masses of sheep. The historical parallel being the 1934 book burnings by the Nazis in Germany. Misguided Germans who flung the works of such writers as Thomas Mann, Bertolt Brecht, Erich Maria Remarque, Ernest Hemingway, Helen Keller into the fires of ignorance failed to heed the warning of their noted 19th century essayist, Heinrich Heine, “Wherever they burn books, they will also, in the end, burn human beings.”

 This writer from Wilton concludes with a quote from Dwight D. Eisenhower which appeared in Time magazine in 1952, “Neither a wise man nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him.”

 Ignorance of history has seen a number of trains from the future run over the American public since 1952; among those expresses are the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, The Lewis Powell Memo (Manifesto of American Fascism), the Plan for the New American Century, the Patriot Act, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Citizens United, “Hope and Change. . . “ Only an aroused citizenry will derail the next one.

 If this letter writer would like to engage in a discussion on these topics, he is more than welcome to come to the Norwalk Senior Center on Thursday, February 26, 10:30 AM. I am scheduled to present, “The Importance of History,” which will include a “hodge-podge of events” showcasing America’s rise to become an imperialist power, global power, superpower and hence, an Empire.

Endnotes

[1] Committees of Correspondence were early revolutionary cells, specifically organized for revolutionary reeducation, for the manipulation of opinion, so as to lay the groundwork of resistance to the globe’s greatest imperialist power, the British Empire. “Sam Adams was the promoter of the first local committees on November 12, 1772, and within three months, Governor Hutchinson reported that there were more than eighty such committees in Massachusetts.” Committees of Correspondence formed the basis for the soon to follow Committees of Public Safety, as the road to revolution unfolded. See page 217, “Committees of Correspondence,” Concise Dictionary of American History, Editor, Wayne Andrews.

[2] Known popularly as the Declaration of Independence.

[3] This country and its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it. See page 222, “First Inaugural Address,” March 4, 1861, Abraham Lincoln: Speeches and Writings, 1859-1865. Too . . .

 . . . Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient Causes; and accordingly all Experience hath shown, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. See page 27, “In Congress, July 4, 1776,” “The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,” Founding Character: The Words & Documents That Forged a Nation, edited by Kirk Ward Robinson and Christopher Eaton.

 The Founders of the Republic, indeed bequeathed to the future generations, that Revolutionary Right to throw off a despotic government if they so choose to do so. And so deal with their oppressors, in any fashion they so choose . . . even prior to erecting another functioning system of representative government.

Bibliography

Abraham Lincoln: Speeches and Writings, 1859-1865, The Library of America, Literary Classics of the United States, Inc., New York, NY., 1989.

Andrews, Wayne, Editor, Concise Dictionary of American History, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1962.

Cooke, Jacob E., Editor, The Federalist, by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison, Wesleyan University Press, Middletown, Ct., 1961. Robinson, Kirk Ward and Eaton, Christopher, Founding Character: The Words & DocumentsThat Forged a Nation, Roan Alder Publishers, Nashville, Tenn., 2003.

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