re: Pandora's second and wiser box


Here I recline, in waning twilight late
to wonder what world we might recreate
aside all searing of this sunlight stark
this silver's enervation, shining dark.
A universe of Lady Liberty
with every passion for its capture free.

* * *

I'm actually not suggesting any particular strategy goal; I'm just
against any weakening of the federal government's power to enforce
the Bill of Rights against the states and arguing against embracing
the cause of states' rights.

I'm not paritcualrly in love with the federal government either, and
beyond continuing to back up the ACLU, have little particular
program. I just think that the legacy of people like justices
Douglas and Black are among the few even partially standing pillars
of what remains of American freedom, and I think the libertarian
movement is being suicidal and opportunistic to help take them down,
in the hopes of building bridges to conservatives and worse who will
slash the Bill of Rights the morning after 'the Imperial Judiciary'
no longer has the power to stop them.

I'm honestly quite the pessimist on the political future, Mike. It's
not that I don;t have my idealisms; I think that a better world is
wuite workable and not impossible, but not very likely, and it's not
where the world is headed today. I think the political war is
ultimately cultural, and I think that in that war the cultural right
has essentially run. The program of the cultural right is to restore
the hegemony of 'God and country', 'family values'- meaning the ethos
of 'civilization under patriarchy. What this requires is not total
statism but enough repression and control to marginalize all options
but the straight and narrow and to put real objective fear behind
subjective moralism. Basically, the essence of the battle is that
those who want a traditional pattern of life want control of their
sons and daughters back. With a draft, strongly curtailed abortion
rights, a nation marching to a patriotic drummer and just the general
climate of this country, it looks like they will get it. Without the
sense of an open future most young people take for granted but is
preciously rare throughout history, allegiance to the current culture
will once again be the kind of natural life pattern it's always been,
and only a few intellectuals, eccentrics, and ne'er do wells will
oppose the culture- that's the way it's been throughotu almost all of
history and still is in most of the world.

This is not exactly a flaming disaster; it's just a return in this
country to the moral order of the way things have been run for
thousands of years. But its a country I just no longer care for.
And no, I'm not the only one who sees things like this. Many people
in my industry, and in the larger cultural left, are already talking
about leaving the United States- some have already comitted; given
the pattern of my own life I expect I'll leave in about five years or
so, likely for New Zealand- where I at least will be a free woman.

What I am writing is simply that if there is to be any hope at all,
one has to contain the cultural right which is essential a burgeoning
rise of local, traditional attachments. I don;t think there's much
hope, but I think this cultural backlash that has been gaining
strength since the 70s is finally beginning to churn near the top of
the dikes, and what you advocate is opening them wide. Support
state's rights, and hundreds of thousands of women who can;t easily
get out of the red states will be raising unwanted children that will
affect their entire lives, and the next generation of children will
grow up in homes where fear of their own bodies, social condemnation,
and the state is again normal. Forget the Castro- if this nation
raises a generation of reactionaries, there won't be a Castro.

My reading ids that this has happened before in history; quite often,
actually- cultural revolutions much like those of the 1960s have
happened many times in many places and have been crushed each time
out of historical memory to all but scholars and their equivalents.
I think that the traditional forms of life are incredibly strong,
barely held down by a shallow surface of modernity, and that these
traditional forms are not precisely the opposite of libertarianism
but are rooted in a sense of everyone existing in their place that
sucks the marrow out of Liberty's soul and does what is neccesary to
firmly enshrine its stable cultural insitutions. My great fear is
that libertarians love liberty less than a bourgeois kind of life
which is our pecularly American form of essential, ancient
conservatism- and that they find sympathy with conservatives because
they both wish to remove the state's hindrances to the smooth
functioning of this form of life... and the fact that once
conservatism is unleashed, there will be no possible force able to
stand for the freedom of those whose freedom cannot coexist with the
kind of political order a restabilized traditionalism will
recreate... well, I think libertarians are partly blind to this, and
partly don't care.

And they partly do care. You are apparently an example, as are many
Libertarians of this beautiful Venice on the Pacific, and for that I
am grateful and will try to show it as I may, I know there are
libertarians for whom the core of the true spirit of freedom does
matter, or who passionately defend everyone's freedom on steel
principle, or who have compassion enough to leave none behind. That
is a wonderful thing, and I thank those with such spirits. But they
don't dominate the national movement, and their numbers are
decreasing before the comfortable young men with prepared futures who
I have seen coming out of the colleges as libertarians today. It is
my belief that the libertarian movement is losing its cultural
neutrality, drfiting to the right, and is giving in on the most
crucial issues- such as abortion- where techical arguments of rights
are divided and the spirit of traditional life and the spirit of one
own's life give different answers.

Yes, I am an unwordly idealist in heart- well, some wacked out
combination of a cold-hearted libertarian capitalist, new-age
postmodern crystal-gazer and dusty-dark Mesopotamian reactionaress.
But that heart doesn't beat close to the surface, and I'm not calling
for any grand offensive. I believe the battle is lost and it is only
a matter of time, and I've just about made my piece with what you
have to accept and what you have to leave behind in that kind of hope.

But just because the waters are rising and little can hold them back
is not going to keep me from shouting when someone calls for opening
the floodgates. I still have enough Rand in my veins to cry 'don't
let it go!'. It's foolish; I don't think libertarianism will listen,
for the simple reason that most libertarians now support a common
life which demands the legal restiction or social restriction or both
on errant young who won't carry on the cycle of the family name-
libertarianism can either keep itslef distant from culture and
society and remain politically discorporate and powerless or it can
connect with culture, at which point most libertarians will want
something like Ron Paul, who wants to replace political controls with
social and moral restraints on a self basically seen as needing
control. That is my vision. The ideal goal that I believe would be
wonderful and the only hope for a revitalized sense of vividness and
freedom- the synthesis of libertarian politics and social liberayion-
is something I speak for and have fought for- but I don't think it
will win.

Call me what you wish; this Pandora does nto deny she carried a box
full onf many varieities of temptation. But the one spirit I don't
have on call is Hope; I live and stand for the arc of glittering
colors; but when it comes to hope, I have but a faint blood drop of
coloe in a waste of grey sand that stretches on and on without end or

After all, I believe this light we call a risen Sun is more a subtle
darkness, whose blank white rays scour colours from our eyes and
leave us blindness. Of the names of this metaphor, there are many.
One is 'state'. I fly by night.

Shunned under shadelight are those who would know
as Liberty strained in the donjon, below.

* * *

my regards,

Jeanine Ring

'Courage will not save you, but it will shew you that your souls are
still alive.'

- Shaw