THE MISSING LINK – Rescuing the American Republic

NEVER GIVE UP, PART THREE

THE MISSING LINK – Rescuing the American Republic

By Jay B Gaskill

Copyright © 2012 by Jay B Gaskill {Permissions readily granted. Contact: law@jaygaskill.com }

Also posted – on The POLICY THINK SITE http://jaygaskill.com/TheMissingLink.htm

 

Marx was wrong.  History is on our side.

Citizens of the USA are inheritors of a sovereign legacy like no other.  Our country is a beacon…still.

We are the world’s foremost Renaissance Republic.[1]  

 

We are under attack from 12th century tribalists using modern weapons, and by 21st century Neo-Marxists using modern advertising technology[2].  We cannot afford to lose. We must reset the defense strategy, rethinking our fundamentals, reassessing our priorities and shedding the tired catch phrases (“The party of Small government”) that the jaded modern audience ignores. So far, we are better at the negative barb than the uplifting one. “The party of Nanny Government” is sharp, but we need an even sharper agenda.

 

There are five sharp elements to the USA Recovery project:

 

  • The Broadband freedom Agenda;
  • The upward Mobility Agenda;
  • The Tough security Agenda;
  • The Moral Agenda
  • The Broadband Creative Agenda (which is the principal theme of this piece);

 

Why a Renaissance Republic? A liberty-centered republic is a better guarantor of the precious gifts of freedom because absolute democracies are absolutely dangerous whenever authoritarian mobs exploit them to seize permanent power in a single election (as Hitler’s election demonstrated and the Middle East’s springtime for jihadists recapitulates).  A constitutional republic is an even better safe haven for liberty, but as history has demonstrated, no system is perfect. Renaissance describes a creative safe haven, supported by a morally centered social order in a fruitful relationship with its flowering creative communities.

 

Creativity and creative communities are the linchpins of our long term recovery from the spell of suffocating progressive government-sponsored “human improvement”. Creativity is the missing link in the freedom agenda and a supporting moral system is the missing anchor.

 

All of us who haven’t been swept up in the “vast left wing conspiracy” need to ask ourselves – Why and how has the liberal-left-progressive mindset so thoroughly penetrated the US academy, the commentariat and the dominant media?

 

Here is the answer. Humanism, in its largest most generous sense, has a huge appeal to all of us, because it speaks to our innate idealism, the longing for a better, more humane world.  The conservatives of the 19th century set a tone that modern conservatives are still trying to shed.  The 19th century “right wingers” were so committed to the existing social order, with all its flaws, that they were easily type cast as enemies of all social progress.

 

Ameliorative social change became the defining ethos of the left, becoming a specifically political issue when social scientists convinced the reigning intelligentsia  that the powers of the state should be enlisted to propel – and then to compel – social progress across a range of human behaviors.  Conservative arguments against the abuse of state power were portrayed as arguments against ameliorative social change, as against worker safety, in favor of child labor and so on.

 

State sponsored economic change was the early and enduring agenda of the left, especially during the early 19th century awakening. Please note that free market capitalism did not then exist.  Instead of free markets among free people there was a regime-money alliance, driven and controlled by entrenched, mostly hereditary elites – the very sort of third world arrangement that modern conservatives stoutly oppose.

 

When Karl Marx railed against the capitalists (a term he invented), the real goal was to substitute one ruling class for another. He got away with the argument, because the conservatives of the day were incapable of making a case for free markets…few if any of them had actually seen one in action.  In fact, the real free market does not respect class, race and gender differences, and its self-organizing principles and the special optimal conditions for free markets to thrive  are exactly the same conditions as those needed for creative communities to flourish. Support for the free market was 19th century liberalism; it is still a liberal idea.

 

Marxism and its humanist progeny have flourished among the post-religious intelligentsia because utopian egalitarianism was sold as a moral construct. And conservatism, when disconnected from its religious underpinnings, seemed to be a convenient rationale for predatory greed.  This is why a moral agenda remains essential to the survival of free societies.

 

The three pillars of moral understanding that hold up the freedom agenda are: [1] the idea that creativity is essential to human survival; [2] that a free society is essential to the survival of creative communities; [3] and that human creative activities (because of their power to generate destabilizing and dangerous technologies) need to operate in the context of a morally centered society.

 

The Marxist agenda is nearly dead and the post-Marxist progressive agenda is beginning to crack under its internal contradictions.  The time is right for a new progressive agenda, one centered in creative freedom, the celebration of the creative process and of creative accomplishment. 

 

This is a brilliantly youthful agenda, a sophisticated cultural agenda and a practical entrepreneur’s agenda all in one.  And it is a populist agenda that is fully coherent with core conservative values.

 

Creative technological innovations, from the mass production of refrigerators and washing machines to affordable smart devices (almost all of which were first developed in the USA) have done more to advance the actual day-to-day wellbeing of the so called common people than all the Marxist ideological gurus and government programs of the left combined.

 

Conservatives, it is time to wake up to the creative agenda; you have nothing to lose but losing itself.

 

The Broadband Creative Agenda

 

In a recent Op Ed that ran in the San Francisco Chronicle, writer Hank Plante analyzed why Governor Romney, post-defeat, … “will likely move into their home in La Jolla, the San Diego suburb … where the local Democratic councilwoman was just re-elected, giving the San Diego City Council a 5-4 Democratic majority…and where there are six gay households within a three-block radius of the Romneys’ $12 million home.” Why, Plante asks, would a conservative move to “part of the bluest of blue states, California, where Republican registration just fell below 30 percent…So what gives? If you are the Romneys, then why not settle in a red state where people love you? What’s wrong with Alabama, Mississippi or even Utah? Simply put, when it comes down to it, Mitt and Ann Romney seem to want the same things that so many others seek in California living: a tolerant, open, environmentally beautiful place to live that we’re not afraid to pay for.” Plante adds that the “Romneys fall right in line with the work that has been done by sociologists such as Richard Florida, who has developed a cottage industry by studying what he calls “the creative class.” …[S]uccessful, bright creative professionals – perhaps 30 percent of the American workforce – are the ones driving America’s new economy. At the top of Florida’s list of “creativity rankings” is, of course, San Francisco. That’s followed by Austin, Texas, and then San Diego (including La Jolla). … “Citizens there probably would love to experience the kind of boom that Silicon Valley techies have brought to the Bay Area. But it took a creative, open environment for Silicon Valley to grow – the same kind of open environment – full of eccentricities and inventiveness…” http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Mitt-Romney-turns-blue-4051525.php

This is a point I’ve been making for some time now.  Conservatives are natural allies of these creative communities, going all the way back to the Florentine Renaissance in Medieval Italy, because creative communities thrive in a setting of protected liberty.  The USA itself became just such a haven, a circumstance that explains our brilliant technological success over the last 150 years.  This is why I am calling the USA the one surviving Renaissance Republic. There is a rich conservative tradition that supports creative freedom and the right to creative intellectual property.  Two of Ayn Rand’s books, The Fountainhead, and the collection of essays about the arts, The Romantic Manifesto, are paeans to creative freedom and the glories of the creative process.

 

Most of the working inhabitants of Silicon Valley are apolitical, but libertarian in philosophy.  The liberal democrats have courted them like Hollywood celebrities and the conservatives are nowhere to be found.  What an inexcusable failure.  What a blind spot.

 

Without the right to creative property, creativity dies. The special conditions that our allow freedoms to flourish are essential to our society’s creative capacity.

 

The founders of the American Experiment understood and participated in the creative awakening of the era.  Jefferson and Franklin were inventors.  The US constitution, even before the Bill of Rights was added, was a completely unique founding document, particularly in that it explicitly provided for the protection of intellectual property.  The founders also understood that creative activities included science, invention, the arts and music.  At the time, the foremost creative communities in the world flourished in Paris.  Within two decades of the American founding, the creative center of the world (seen as a broadband renaissance across several disciplines) had crossed the Atlantic.

 

The former British colonies in America had become the Renaissance Republic.

 

Tyrannies and smothering bureaucracies are toxic to creative communities.  Our creative accomplishments, in the arts, sciences and technology are intrinsic values; they are part of the human thirst for achievement and happiness.  Like freedom itself, they are indivisible.

 

But keeping our creative capacities and communities alive and well is essential to our ability to adapt, survive and thrive against all challenges and threats, known and unknown, anticipated, and unanticipated. Supporting the creative-productive makers and doers against the manipulative and parasitical forces of envy, downward leveling, and political exploitation is an essential part of the creative agenda.

 

Modern conservatives must always take creativity’s side against bureaucracies and its other enemies.

 

Creativity requires special conditions that include creative freedom, safety from predators, and the right to have property, especially intellectual property.  As advocates for the Renaissance Republic, we need to pay attention to the creative communities that are close to us, from the art colonies of Brooklyn and Berkeley to the cyber nurseries of Silicon Valley and Silicon Alley… because these are freedom’s natural constituencies.  The casual and cynical exploitation of such (comparatively) innocent creative communities by the left is one of the tragic frauds of the current era.

 

Note to my creative friends who still think that conservatives are “the enemy”: Hard tyrannies begin with soft tyrannies, but the pattern for both is the same.  First seduce the creative communities, then selectively intimidate, imprison and – if needed – kill the dissidents among them.

 

The tyrants already know that which many conservatives and freedom-loving liberals have yet to grasp. Those who win over the creative communities will eventually win the game.  Never ever doubt that the creative communities are a natural liberty-constituency. Whenever a modern regime slips into totalitarian excess, its creative communities seek refuge – usually in the USA.  Friendship and affinity can be theoretically claimed, but that only works when demonstrated in the real world using real people in real situations.  That is the task of the modern conservatives within the embattled Renaissance Republic.

 

Why do the worker bees of the media tend to be progressive liberals? Because the academy has been captured by the left, and history has been re-narrated.   Modern journalists and their handlers are linked to the well-tamed creative communitarians, who in turn have been exploited by the left. This is not a new development. Hitler’s film director-propagandist, Leni Riefenstahl, was the archetypical fallen creative artist who became a Nazi tool.

 

But even then, for every two creative types who were coopted and enlisted by tyrants, there were eight who refused to play along. The jazz artists of the era were the Nazi’s creative nemeses.  The American music scene of the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s was greatly enriched by European escapees from Nazi Germany and later from Soviet Russia.

 

The best creative minds of every generation were and are anti-authoritarians. 

 

 

 

 

A Footnote About

PRIORITIES

 

On a scale of one to ten, the pro-life agenda, taken broadly to include a deep moral revulsion of euthanasia, organ harvesting, and so on, is an eight or nine compared with gay marriage, which is, at best, only a two, no matter which side you take.

 

But, for me, a kid who grew up with or went to school with Jewish friends whose surviving relatives carried Nazi stigmata (the tattooed serial numbers), the son of a father who saw Hitler’s heinous crimes in Germany first-hand (Captain Gaskill accompanied by Lieutenant Cohen)… for me, the terms “never forget” and “never again” are burned into my soul.  For me, the defense of Israel is a 9.8 and the closely-connected goal of preventing of another holocaust is a 9.97.

 

It should not escape your notice that tiny Israel is one of the most intensely creative communities in the world. As the world’s foremost creative civilization, we cannot stand idly by and watch while Israel is savaged by neo-Medieval enemies armed with modern weapons and Nazi mindsets.

 

Ah, but the preservation of the USA as a beacon of life-affirming freedom is a ten – because without the USA, the Nazi nightmare, the communist nightmare…or both, could have won out. And without us, here and now, bruised and ambivalent as many of us are, it all goes to hell.

 

There are other issues, of course, each of which will be the subject of a careful discussion.  But our approach should remain the same –we are the guardians of the overall health of the civilization, of the culture and the preservation of the USA as an example and the beacon of freedom to the world.

 

Modern conservatives need to ally with other freedom-friendly citizens, however they choose to label or describe themselves, in the larger cause – promoting and expanding the ideal of the Renaissance Republic, of which the USA has been world’s primary exemplar.

 

Using this expanded context and a more intelligent outreach to recruits among constituencies heretofore neglected by paleo-conservatives, we and our allies will marshal the collective skills, abilities and credibility to move the navigation needle away from the abyss and towards a fruitful more life-affirming, more creative, more liberty-friendly USA.  We will because we must.  Necessity is the mother of determination.

 

The present moment of “defeat” is our unique opportunity.  Let’s seize it and change the world…one uninformed but receptive mind at a time.

 

JBG

The author is a California lawyer. 

He served as the 7th Public Defender for the County of Alameda, California (headquartered in Oakland) from 1989-1999.



[1] The author’s earlier development of this idea is still posted on-line in two articles:   http://jaygaskill.com/CreativityAndSurvival.pdf &  http://jaygaskill.com/ACS2011.htm .

 

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