Monday, June 1, 2009

Abortion Provider's Murder and a Conservative Culture of Lawlessness

The murder yesterday of Kansas physician George Tiller, a well-known abortion provider, probably will be seen as a shocking event connected to one of America's hot-button issues.

But here at Legal Schnauzer, we submit that it reflects a culture of lawlessness that has consumed conservatism over roughly the past 40 years. Our theory is that a significant number of conservatives, resentful over affirmative action, busing, school integration and other race-based issues, have established a "parallel universe" where they don't have to follow laws that govern American society at large. Instead, they create their own laws in an effort to return our country to the "only whites need apply" era that they so fondly remember.

If our theory is correct, the Tiller killing has relatively little to do with a medical procedure. Rather, it has connections to Watergate, Iran-Contra, Enron, the U.S. attorneys' firings, the Don Siegelman and Paul Minor cases and . . . the list goes on.

In all of these examples, and many others we haven't named, people with conservative leanings thought they would be unable to accomplish their objectives inside the boundaries of the law. So they went outside the law, inside the conservative parallel universe, to get the job done.

Is anyone surprised that Scott P. Roeder, the suspect in the Tiller killing, was known to be involved in anti-government groups. The Wichita Eagle quotes one abortion opponent about Roeder:

"I know that he believed in justifiable homicide," said Regina Dinwiddie, a Kansas City abortion opponent who made headlines in 1995 when she was ordered by a federal judge to stop using a bullhorn within 500 feet of any abortion clinic. "I know he very strongly believed that abortion was murder and that you ought to defend the little ones, both born and unborn."

The Wichita paper has more about Roeder's background:

Roeder also was a subscriber to Prayer and Action News, a magazine that advocated the justifiable homicide position, said publisher Dave Leach, an anti-abortion activist from Des Moines.

"I met him once, and he wrote to me a few times," Leach said. "I remember that he was sympathetic to our cause, but I don't remember any details."

And perhaps most alarming is this:

Roeder, who in the 1990s was a manufacturing assemblyman, also was involved in the "Freemen" movement.

"Freemen" was a term adopted by those who claimed sovereignty from government jurisdiction and operated under their own legal system, which they called common-law courts. Adherents declared themselves exempt from laws, regulations and taxes and often filed liens against judges, prosecutors and others, claiming that money was owed to them as compensation.

What did the "Freemen" do? They "declared themselves exempt from laws."

Many on the right will portray Roeder as a lone outcast, who had no formal ties to mainstream conservatism. But we would argue that Roeder has much in common with Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Karl Rove.

Let's go on a brief travelogue over the past 40 years or so in conservative America:

* If you are Richard Nixon and his henchmen, with concerns about beating Democratic nominee George McGovern fair and square, you initiate the scandal that becomes known as Watergate.

* If you are Ronald Reagan and his associates, and you don't like certain laws that have been passed by Congress, you go around them and set off the scandal that becomes known as Iran-Contra.

* If you are George W. Bush & Co., and you can't invade Iraq for legitimate reasons, you concoct phony reasons and spark the Iraq War, which has cost thousands of lives and billions of dollars.

* If you are Dick Cheney and you can't obtain the information you want through lawful means, you authorize torture and spark a debate about the United States' diminished stature on the world stage.

* If you are Karl Rove and have concerns about maintaining GOP dominance in Southern strongholds such as Alabama and Mississippi, you pervert the justice system to get rid of prominent Democrats such as Don Siegelman and Paul Minor.

Are we correct about the central role of race, and race-based fear, in this tale of pathology? That's open for debate. But isn't it interesting that George Tiller practiced in predominantly white Kansas, where presumably, he provided abortion services mainly for white women? Would Tiller have been such a target if he had served mostly women of color? Would he have been targeted if his clinic had been in, say, inner-city Detroit?

And is it coincidence that our timeline of conservative lawlessness starts with the Nixon era, which was famed for its "Southern strategy" of dividing the country along racial lines and "taking the bigger half"?

Is it coincidence that it includes the Reagan era, which started with a campaign speech about "states' rights" in Philadelphia, Mississippi?

Is it coincidence that Karl Rove has his roots in Utah, a state that hardly is known for progressive thinking along racial lines?

For what it's worth, our own Legal Schnauzer case could be seen as a tiny chapter in this large, ugly story. . . . If you have conservative leanings and discover that a blogger/citizen journalist is writing uncomfortable truths about certain activities, what do you do? You pressure his employer, a public university, to fire him. And in the process, you probably violate a number of laws, including honest-services mail and wire fraud.

So, you see, we are not working on an abstract theory. It hits awfully close to home for us. And if our theory is at all valid, it should hit close to home for all Americans.

Scott Roeder is hardly a lone conservative whack job, who thinks laws don't apply to him. He has a whole lot of company. Some wear suits. Some wear badges. Some wear robes. Many have powerful positions in government, business, law, and politics.

Scott Roeder is more mainstream in conservative America than many of us would like to believe.


Darwin26 said...

i wish you were wrong ...
...however it's not just since Nixon that the Rule of Men is making a mark... The 'footprint' of these ppl began showing it's ugly face without a magnifying glass via Nixon but the slew of them from Nixon to Rove is a genetic situation where there is a spike in the evolutionary continuum that has these self-serving narcissistic authoritarians taking control.
It's genetic. Is is going the way of the dinosaur? Is it just beginning? How do we eradicate the Republican menace?
William Crain
Billings, MT

Anonymous said...

NAZIS. This is what Americans must realize just as the Germans did. It is a FOURTH REICH and the country has been, as you so pointedly delineate in your line-up of 'conservatives,' on this path for a long time.

What's the connection? The time-line for what could be called a Chapter 11, of the US, a restructuring of this country into a war weapon of mass destruction which cannot be matched by any other super power on the planet.

Is it still a secret that the Christian "religion" was used, just as the "Jew" has been too?

CHAOS, GWB said in one of his many Freudian slips.

How much more chaos can be sown by the how many INTELLIGENCE (private now or "private-public" but mostly owned by GWB family, et al.), COMPANIES in the US: CIA, NSA, etc. and so on.

Tracing back to mind control of the zombie mass murderers (children on drugs, pharmaceuticals) or the single monarch enslaved to do the killing for terrorism without end.

CITIZENS' ACCESS TO A GRAND JURY can expose all the NAZIS who relocated to America and have taken charge to usher in the ongoing criminally insane motive of a one world government.

Cats r Flyfishn said...

These conservatives could never live within the law. They can never be trusted.

Excellent post.

Springfield Reformer said...

As an authentic, card-carrying conservative, I have to say I do not share your grasp of history. After all, being a mind-numbed robot deprives me of the capacity for higher order thought. I hope you recognize this and make some allowance for it.

BTW, I know Angela Drees and find her quite sane and likable. In fact, I share her concern for Family Court corruption, and under another identity am a fellow worker with her in her efforts for reform. I guess she has not found my conservative creds quite so threatening as you have.

Oddly, this may be because I consider Family Court reform a great conservative issue, precisely because I believe in the rule of law. However, for a conservative the rule of law entails natural law, which I take to be a uniform and universal rule of right reason, which, if followed, tends to the well-being of those who follow it, regardless of their other beliefs or religious traditions.

By contrast, liberals tend to define the “rule of law” in a positive law context, with no external reference point in natural law. That is, the law is whatever the law-making body says it is without reference to conscience, and any deviation therefrom is rejection of the “rule of law.” Justice Holmes would abhor the reintroduction of some “brooding omnipresence in the sky” to act as the moral arbiter of any given law. The law simply is what it is. There is therefore no such thing as “bad law.”

But positive law makes no allowance for the Nuremburg Problem. The atrocities of the Weimar Republic were entirely “legal,” even though they were morally abhorrent. They were “just following orders.” By contrast, natural law, the conservative frame of reference, exposes this contradiction by referencing a higher, universal law, and was clearly the basis for Nuremburg’s decision to hold the perpetrators guilty despite the technical legality of their actions.

Therefore, a conservative who on occasion challenges bad law is really acting in a manner that better upholds the rule of law, using the norms of human conscience as a check and balance against the whims of a wandering judiciary (Family Court, for example?). Whereas those who never challenge a law, who never sit in a Birmingham jail with the express purpose of overthrowing “bad law,” are in fact inviting chaos, because under positive law theory disobeying any group of monkeys typing out laws at random would be a departure from the “rule of law.”

Therefore, Tiller’s killer, whose action does not conform either to natural law or positive law, cannot be described as either liberal or conservative. Natural law requires that the execution of criminals be predicated on a suitable determination of guilt by the proper authorities, which we call due process. For private individuals to act outside that zone of permission in the taking of human life is the very thing of which he accuses Tiller in killing the unborn.

This person is trapped in a pair of severely contradictory premises, which in turn means he is not being rational. Because conservatism is, by definition, the rational and consistent application of the natural law, which itself emanates from the supreme source of rationality, calling Tiller’s assailant conservative is inaccurate at best and deliberately inflammatory at worst. He does not represent mainstream conservatism. If he did, there would have been a full-scale war between the “right” and the “left” years ago. It never happened.

Furthermore, you know it never happened and I have a feeling you know why, that most conservatives are eminently more self-consistent than this troubled individual. Which is why I gently lay at your doorstep some culpability for willful inflammation of tension between two sets of people who should not be in conflict, who really have a lot more in common than either side admits, and who might live in greater peace with each other if only they could look past the over-simplified right/left categories being used to divide them.