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First they came for the communists, but I was not a communist, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the socialists and the trade unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew, so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.
– Pastor Martin Niemoeller.

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Robin Hood the Tea Partier - Monday, May 17, 2010 at 00:16

 


Boycott Arizona? Then Boycott California!

Some liberals advocate boycotting Arizona because of its new law on illegal immigration. In fact, the law has not yet gone into effect. In fact, the law mirrors current federal law. In fact, the law as amended forbids “racial” profiling.

Meanwhile, the Miss U.S.A. panel asked contestants how they felt about the Arizona law. This is yet another example of how liberalism permeates every aspect of life. Last year, contestants were asked how they felt about laws that maintained marriage as between one man and one woman. The “correct” answer led to a win, while the “wrong” answer − as Miss California discovered − led not only to a loss, but to vilification as a “Nazi” and a “dumb bitch” with “half a brain.”

But that reminds me of Proposition 8, which California passed in 2008. It defines marriage exactly that way, and hence was condemned by those who favor same-sex marriage. This proposition is as obnoxious to liberals as the Arizona immigration law.

Moreover, the Arizona law was passed by the legislature, while the California law was passed by the voters themselves. Thus if blame is deserved, one should blame the Arizona legislators − but blame all Californians. So if a boycott is in order, a boycott of California is more logical than a boycott of Arizona.

And such a boycott is already on the horizon. Los Angeles, whose city council voted to boycott Arizona, gets about 25% of its electricity from Arizona power plants. Arizona is threatening rate increases or even a power cutoff.

State-versus-state boycotts are of questionable legality and of dubious logic. But they can work both ways, as a bunch of self-righteous jerks is about to discover.


 Robin Hood the Tea Partier

David C. Stolinsky, MD
May 17, 2010

Ridley Scott’s “Robin Hood,” starring Russell Crowe, was disliked by the New York Times. The reviewer compared the story to a “Tea Party.” Of course, the Times believed that this was an insult. But consider how apt the comparison is.

Judged beside the Errol Flynn classic, this film is less humorous and more gritty. It begins with the death of King Richard the Lion-Hearted. Robin and his men, who are far from merry, are bowmen who return to England after following Richard in his campaigns. But they come home to find England on the verge of civil war. John, who succeeded his brother Richard, is taxing the people mercilessly, and they resent it.

But is the Times correct? Is this incarnation of Robin Hood comparable to a modern Tea Partier? Are the two situations at all similar?

Robin fought against an oppressive government that levied crushing taxes. The government was led by King John, a weak man who aspired to be a tyrant, but was not quite up to the job. He had the ruthlessness, but not the strength. He evoked fear and anger, but not loyalty or respect. Is the Times implying that President Obama in any way resembles King John?

King John followed King Richard on the throne. Richard had spent much of his reign away at the Crusades, fighting to retake the Holy Land from warlike Muslims who had seized it from its former inhabitants. But John was no warrior, much less a Crusader. He set his eyes not on rescuing the Holy Land, but on seizing the land and money of his own people. As a result, the people compared him unfavorably with his brave predecessor. Is the Times implying that former President Bush in any way resembles King Richard?

John’s onerous taxes and overbearing methods angered nobles and peasants alike. His utter disregard for the traditional freedoms of the English people drove them to revolt against his rule. They prepared a list of their ancient rights that John was disregarding. It was called the Great Charter, or Magna Carta.

The balance of power swung back and forth between the followers of King John and the proponents of liberty. In 1215, John was forced to grant the Magna Carta, which recognized the rights of all English people and was the ancestor of our Constitution. Parts of the U.S. Constitution, and of state constitutions, come directly from the Magna Carta.

For example, the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides:

No person shall…be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law…

But 576 years earlier, the Magna Carta declared:

No free man shall be arrested, or imprisoned, or deprived of his property or his liberties…, or outlawed, or exiled, or in any way destroyed…except by the lawful judgment of his peers, or by the law of the land. To no one will we sell, to no one will we deny or delay, right or justice.

In the days of King John, transportation was by horseback and communication by spoken or written word. The regime didn’t have to worry about controlling electronic communication. Someone caught speaking out against the king was simply hanged or tortured to death.

The Obama administration has no such ability. But it imagines it has the power to decide what information is “harmful,” and then to “redistribute speech” so as to minimize “harmful” information and emphasize “beneficial” information − that is, information beneficial to the administration. Thus there are plans to regulate talk radio and the Internet in the interest of “fairness.” And who defines “fairness”? The administration, of course. King John would have approved.

Recently, a prominent journalist accused critics of the administration of sedition, and former President Clinton compared them to Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber. But sedition is punishable by imprisonment, and McVeigh was executed. If you want to control what people hear, you must control what they say − and punish them for saying the “wrong” things. King John would have approved enthusiastically.

What happened to “Question authority” and “Dissent is patriotic”? Or are these bumper stickers used only when a Republican is in the White House?

The Magna Carta was sometimes ignored by power-hungry rulers, but it stood as a blunt reminder of the ancient rights of the English people. Regrettably, people are often forgetful, and they need reminders of what is crucially important.

Rights come from God, but if we hope to preserve them, they must be written down, and rulers must be forced to respect them. That is, rulers must be forced to respect not what they suppose those rights to be, but what the document says those rights actually are.

On the contrary, the “living Constitution” is beloved by “progressives.” It is subject to constant reinterpretation according to “evolving social norms.” This means that we have only the rights that our rulers say we have at any moment. Despite all our electronic toys, we will have regressed to medieval times. We will have gone back to the days before the Magna Carta, and all the blood that was shed to obtain our rights will have been shed in vain.

In its attempt at an insulting comparison, the Times inadvertently spoke the truth. In its historical references, however fictionalized, “Robin Hood” sheds light on current events. In the words of Norman Cousins, “History is a vast early warning system.”

Like King John and his courtiers, current self-anointed “elites” have contempt for the “common people.” But folk heroes have a way of arising when they are most needed. Was Robin Hood an early-day Tea Partier? I believe he was, and I thank the New York Times for, however unintentionally, pointing this out for all to see.

The whole affair would have given Robin a good laugh. Embarrassing would-be tyrants was his favorite pastime.

Dr. Stolinsky writes on political and social issues. Contact: dstol@prodigy.net.

www.stolinsky.com