It is pointed out in an article on Politico by Josh Gerstein: “Norman Rockwell’s “The Problem We All Live With,” installed in the White House last month, shows U.S. marshals escorting Ruby Bridges, a 6-year-old African-American girl, into a New Orleans elementary school in 1960 as court-ordered integration met with an angry and defiant response from the white community.”
My initial response was surprise. Barack just does not seem a Norman Rockwell kind of man.
Norman Rockwell is not highly esteemed amongst the sociopathic academic art community. Wikipedia adds: “Rockwell’s work was dismissed by serious art critics in his lifetime. Many of his works appear overly sweet in modern critics’ eyes, especially the Saturday Evening Post covers, which tend toward idealistic or sentimentalized portrayals of American life— this has led to the often-deprecatory adjective “Rockwellesque.” Consequently, Rockwell is not considered a “serious painter” by some contemporary artists, who often regard his work as bourgeois and kitsch. Writer Vladimir Nabokov sneered that Rockwell’s brilliant technique was put to “banal” use, and wrote in his book Pnin: “That Dalí is really Norman Rockwell’s twin brother kidnapped by Gypsies in babyhood”. He is called an “illustrator” instead of an artist by some critics, a designation he did not mind, as it was what he called himself.
Which is why I initially wondered why Obama would honor Norman Rockwell’s art, or “art” as the sociopathic intellectuals would write it. I can just imagine the permanent sneers on the faces of his “socially responsible” donors becoming momentarily more disdainful than usual. Quickly, however, once the proper deference to the pro-integration theme hits, their faces snap back to the baseline sneer, (except of course, those who have inflicted permanent paralysis to the muscles of facial expression through the over usage of Botox injections).
Barack Obama was not born in those Freedom Rider days. Later when he might have become involved with the Civil Rights Movement he was either in Hawaii, Indonesia, or living with his white grandparents. As the professional race spokesmen complained, Obama was not part of the fight. We recall both Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton having been caught off-guard expressing their anger at this newcomer to The Struggle jumping ahead of the “rightful” Black Leadership! We recall how the Rev. Jackson wished to literally emasculate him.
Since it is likely that President Obama is not an actual fan of Norman Rockwell’s bourgeois kitsch, nor is he particularly invested emotionally with the Civil Rights Movement, why does this picture seem to captivate him?
The writer, Josh Gerstein had the answer but it slipped through his hands. Gerstein wrote: the picture “shows U.S. marshals escorting Ruby Bridges, a 6-year-old African-American girl, into a New Orleans elementary school in 1960 as court-ordered integration met with an angry and defiant response from the white community.”
President Obama has demonstrated his perception of The Constitution as an infringement upon the Government’s Powers to do good deeds for the “underprivileged”. As a Professor of Constitutional Law, we can be certain that his disagreements with the document are not from misinformation. Therefore we must conclude they are from a deep distaste for a Document that limits the scope of those who would be better intentioned, and fairer to some than to others.
The Constitution has been under increasingly open attack for about two generations now. Since the citizens of America take pride in their Constitution, and they rightfully recognize that to a large degree the freedom to prosper here is directly due to the government being kept safely under lock and chain. “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence – it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and fearful master.” — George Washington
There is hubris in a Man who foolishly believes he can contain the power of the Government once it has been unleashed. Or, there is the recklessness of the arsonist; no normal adult plays lightly with fire.
The Constitution became targeted in a decisive way in the wake of World War II. Though there have been instances when the Constitution was temporarily placed in abeyance, at each of these times it was to address an explicit issue, at a time of national crisis. Only through the 20/20 retroscope of History might we able to second-guess the soundness of the decisions in this regard. We must recall that in the examples I will briefly touch on no one did know the scope of the risk involved in not curtailing the Constitution, in that explicitly defined crisis. Jefferson himself understood that regardless of the exact verbiage of the Constitution, the purchase of Louisiana from Napoleon would have to be found Constitutional after the fact, for he wasn’t going to let this opportunity go! Jefferson wrote: “a strict observance of the written law is doubtless one of the high duties of a good citizen, but it is not the highest. The laws of necessity, of self-preservation, of saving our country when in danger, are of higher obligation. To lose our country by a scrupulous adherence to the written law, would be to lose the law itself, with life, liberty, property and all those who are enjoying them with us; thus absurdly sacrificing the ends to the means.” John Adams’ his predecessor passed the Patriot Act of his time in the Alien and Sedition Act. In our retroscope we can comfortably discount the threat of a Second Revolution along the lines of France’s. But, it was less than clear to Adam’s. The idea that the rational liberty spelled out by John Locke could morph into an evil mobocracy stunned many who believed that enlightened self-interest itself would provide for a degree of civility and social cohesiveness. But it was recognized as “overdone” and Adams became the first “one-termer”. The run-up to the Civil War is too complex to be covered here, but Abraham Lincoln’s famous line that the constitution does not represent a suicide pact, has been well established. We all know how he suspended habeas corpus in States in which Confederate activity was high. By seceding from the Union and making war on her at Sumter, the southern states could claim no Constitutional Rights while in the state of rebellion.
Woodrow Wilson’s pernicious attacks on the Constitution are perhaps the most insidious until the end of the 20th century. His attempt to submerge American sovereignty under a League Of Nations, that force us to become involved in every brawl in every corner of the world. He initiated secret spying upon German-Americans and pacifists. He brought us into the War on lies and propaganda. Imagine the difference of the twentieth century if Wilson “kept us out of the War” as his cynical campaign slogan promised? FDR’s rounding up of Japanese Americans is probably the first lesson of American 20th century history at public high schools! One could have made cases for all of these Constitutional lapses. All were rooted in extremely explicit cases, and all were reversed as soon as possible.
The Civil Rights Era however saw the beginning of the pattern of dismantling of the Constitution and the use of the weapon of demonization of its supporters as racists. When we look around us and see the entire edifice of rules, regulations, licenses, applications, agreements, and contracts that are necessary for conducting any sort of business, it is staggering. Those who have gradually compensated bit by bit like the frog in the slowly heating pot of water had grown accustomed, until recently. I believe the entire apparatus of Obama’s Healthcare Plan represented a sharp enough rise in temperature that this time the frog did jump! So, once we blink in the sunlight for awhile, and get used to the light, we wonder, how did we get to the point where the conduction of legal business between consenting adults requires a business license?
The Civil Rights Era took advantage of a moral cause and yoked it to an immoral response. Private Property must be sacrosanct in a Constitutional Republic. The uncomfortable corollary is that one is free to enjoy one’s property as one pleases so long as he is not disrupting another other person’s enjoyment of his property. That is only “uncomfortable” to those who wish for you to do that which is not pleasing to yourself on your own property. Our Constitution is based on the premises that we all have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. However, in any society of more than one person, there will be more than one particular source of happiness. One notably is not entitled to the Right of Happiness, but only to its pursuit. Now if I and someone else desire the same exact thing to be happy, and only one of us may have it, the one who possesses it gets to enjoy his property. Property Rights are the sin qua non of Liberty. Of what use is the right to vote for elective representatives, if a majority can take your property? Of what use is Freedom of Speech, if all you may do with it is to bewail the loss of your property.
The Southern States held to a racist and evil system of Jim Crow. I recall being a child and visiting my uncle in Virginia. We took the ferry across the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. I had never before seen water fountains that said “Whites Only” and “Blacks Only”. This was of course a shock to my Long island sensibilities. Though to be honest we had no black kids in my schools! So our self righteous sense of moral superiority over the South was unwarranted.
Placing Racial Equality over Property Rights was the sweet, but deadly poison fruit. For to compromise but once on the issue of Property Rights is to open the floodgates of Government intrusion! If even the slightest light passes the space between one’s private property and the free usage of it (with the caveat of not intruding on other’s property), it suddenly is not 100% privately owned. Though you will pay the taxes on it, you will find that from having free hold right to the liberty of enjoying your property, you will be met with more and more restrictions, demands for certain modifications and demands for permission to build a shed. If you hire anyone you are beholden to a thousand pages of Laws, Rules and Regulations, regarding wages, heath insurance, overtime, responsibility to act as Border Patrol, and to myriad activities and barriers. And one must prove that they are not racist in their hiring practices. If one puts one’s capital and property at risk in order to produce a profitable product that people will find valuable, and one is successful, they are taxed. Their business is taxed. Their payroll is taxed. Their personnel income is taxed. All that taxation and still they demand that the employer have an investigative arm to check citizenship and is constantly at threat of being hauled before the EEOC for racism, or EPA for emissions, or OSHA for lack of skin softener in the bathrooms that are handicapped accessible (whether or not a handicapped person is physically capable of filing the need for which he is to hired). This all is the direct result of the people allowing the government to crack open the barrier between private and public property. Either one owns their property, or not; its that simple! It is the same with Licenses. If one needs a License to work in a given field (which is more and more common) it is conceding that the Government owns the right to work in the given field. Suddenly you are seeking a privilege from a Public Servant in order to work. Every bit of this system can be traced back to the Civil Rights Compromise. Even for a good cause, one cannot compromise principles, for eventually the power given away will be used in an evil cause.
Lunch counters in small southern towns (where now there is no downtown, and no drugstore lunch counters), often were segregated. They would either not serve Blacks, or if they did, they had to sit at some restricted area. This was a loathsome way of life. It demeaned Blacks and made those Whites who demanded it into harsh angry men and women. Buses were, as we know segregated. Rosa Parks famously refused to give up her seat and step to the back of the bus. Public Schools were most certainly segregated; as perhaps the greatest fear of Whites was the “sexual vigor” of the Black men.
Here are three similar but different sets of property rights and civil rights clashing.
In the first case, The Lunch counter: this was the property of the person who owned and ran it or leased it from the owner. Whose rights trumped the others’? It is a bitter pill to swallow but in a free country where people’s property rights are claimed directly by a chain of purchases, the owner of the property and only the owner of the property can determine its use. Even a jackass has Constitutional Rights. There is NO RIGHT TO BE SERVED LUNCH WHEREVER ONE WISHES IT TO BE SERVED! If this was left alone, I believe the rightful Constitutional application on other issues would have resulted in the withering on the vine of the pernicious segregation of luncheonettes.
The second case, of Rosa Parks and the boycott of the Birmingham Bus Company is somewhat different. Presumably the Birmingham Bus Company had some monopolistic license to operate the buses in the city. This in itself was wrongful, and it is just this kind of state licensing of monopolies that can support injustice far longer than a market based system. If there was liberty to operate a Black-owned Bus Company, competition would have instantly resulted in the Metro-Monopoly Company having to become color-blind. If the Black owned company took the fare of anyone, they would have out-competed the Racist Bus Co. A tactic to overcoming the racist Bus Policy, was boycott. But if that failed, rather than hiring lawyers, for the same or less cost, a Black-owned and operated Bus Company could have been capitalized. Of course any violence or threat of violence to the riders or drivers of the Black Birmingham Bus Co. would have to be harshly dealt with. But is this not the case in any Labor Dispute? Whenever any sector of the population believes its goals are so far superior to those of others that they may use violence to enforce their will on the others, this is not tolerable. If the Birmingham Police had not intervened, then the Alabama State Troopers would have to intervene. And if they too, failed to protect the lives and liberties of their citizens the Federal Government is obliged to step in to restore the rule of law. Clearly there could be no due process claim that Whites had the right to coerce Black bus riders or drivers, or any legal principle that allowed laws to be made that differentiated the races.
The School Segregation Dilemma is a thornier subject. But we must use the Principles of Liberty and Freedom of Association fearlessly, in order to recognize how the barn door became opened and so we can close it once again and restore the Constitutional Republic. The Supreme Court had previously allowed for the will of the majority to prevail in the Separate But Equal Doctrine. However, are we certain that gerrymandering of districts did not result in white majority in enough districts in a state to keep racial segregation of Public Schools possible? I honestly do not know. Lets say that indeed was the case and the white majority districts out voted black majority districts at the state level in order to maintain Separate But Equal Schools. This could have been adjudicated up to the Supreme Court level. The issue would be gerrymandering at the state level in order to maintain a white majority in the State Houses. This may have resolved the issue. Better to have fixed the unfair voting issues that propagated White Power, then to have the Supreme Court of the United States order school-by -school racial balancing. This is a much greater and deeper thrust of the Federal Government into the local level than merely making certain that the Voting System was fair to blacks.
But in any case Brown v. Board of Education brought the Federal Government directly in opposition to the people of the United States. Not only in the South, but also in much of “liberal “ Boston, violence attended this aggressive Federal Policy. Instead of a racist balancing fiasco, requiring long distance busing of students to places they were unwanted, and that did not help racial tensions, could some other course have been taken? But already, the secret was out. Ending Jim Crow and Segregation opened the taps of endless power to those who could cloak their scheme with racial justice. At this point the children’s education became secondary. It was now a battle of wills. Will the White people of the United States allow their children to be bused to schools in the poor parts of town from which either they or their parents worked hard to escape, in order to make a picture of racial harmony? Surprisingly Bob Dylan’s lyrics can be more libertarian than “liberal”.
“A self-ordained professor’s tongue
Too serious to fool
Spouted out that liberty
Is just equality in school
“Equality,” I spoke the word
As if a wedding vow
Ah, but I was so much older then
I’m younger than that now.”
All the to-do over busing, education was secondary. What should have been done was to end all busing and all enrollments beyond a standard distance from any public school. Anyone within the radius of that school was in. Period. Yes, at first not much would have changed; as crappy neighborhoods afforded less expensive schools. But, as our parents’ generation proved, the family was the predictor of grades and success.
But gradually, as long as segregation was nor the explicit goal, neighborhoods would change. As Blacks got their full Voting Rights, and gathered enough capital to get a black economy going, we were on the cusp of success. As Black neighborhoods became more prosperous their schools would attract better teachers. In a positive reinforcing circle, better schools draw parents who are invested in their children’s education and their future. Therefore more students come from homes in which school work is taken seriously, and the success rate for kids graduating High School and going on to college increases, and the word gets out and another generation of parents with higher expectations for their kids moves in. Suddenly the “poor neighborhood” is not poor. Suddenly, people look up and see that they have built good lives, in communities that might even resemble a Rockwellesque one! But,when ghetto kids are bused to a white suburb, they merely feel resentment. The kids there have two parents, and they care about the kids’ education in a competitive way. The poor Black kids bused in lack the family background and lack the family desire to “get ahead”. There lack of success must be attributed to racist teachers or racist curricula! Thus we needed the Federal Government to create a Department of Education. Now we have the answer to Barack Obama’s unlikely penchant for Norman Rockwell and the Civil Rights Movement.
Yes, it took a while to make this journey. But we have rounded the bend and the light is in sight. The Politico writer had it right, but he let is slip through his hands.
U.S. marshals escorting Ruby Bridges, a 6-year-old African-American girl, into a New Orleans elementary school in 1960 as court-ordered integration met with an angry and defiant response from the white community!
This is the President’s modus operandi. This scholar of the Constitution is clearly not ignorant of its clauses. He clearly understands that Congress is given the Power to Declare War, and the President as Commander-In-Chief is tasked with the successful execution of the war. With the threat of Soviet Missiles streaking over the Arctic the War Powers Act gave the president 90 days to wage war without coming to Congress. However this recent innovation was traditionally accompanied by The President addressing Congress and laying out the case, and the outline of the course of action. President Obama deliberately ignored Congress when announcing the Libyan Campaign. Apparently this president needs only the OK of The Higher Power: The UN. Like in the Rockwell painting The Federal Government and its Agencies are the real powers. The Supreme Court of the Federal Government trumps State Courts. And with Libya, the President trumps Congress. And when Congress would not declare CO2 a pollutant, the EPA, the Environmental Protection Agency of the Executive Branch just ignored the Congress, and through Regulation have placed caps on CO2 emissions. Though NASA studies recently have cast significant doubt on the link between man-made CO2 and Climate Warming, the EPA remains unmoved. Not when the Department of Energy has guaranteed a 1.4 Billion dollar loan by Merrill Lynch to a Solar Power company, and a warehouse company to put solar panels (probably made in China) on their roofs in the Southwest. Only by falsely claiming that a value is being created i.e. the diminishment of CO2 release in the production of electricity, is this justified. The estimated cost of this electricity will be 50-100 times greater than that of Coal-burning plants. “Under my plan electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” Hello, I heard him and believed him; for the very reason that he said this while campaigning! While campaigning he openly said he would in essence bankrupt the middleclass suburbanite. And you middleclass suburbanites elected him!
But now we understand why President Barack Obama is fond of this painting. It is not his love for bourgeois kitsch, and Americana. And it is not The Civil Rights Movement, of which he was not a part. The real reason this “illustration” grabs him is because it is a demonstration of The Power of the Government over the people when done in the name of a“good cause”. No matter that the policy is inimical to America and Americans, just as long as it empowers his regime, and as long as he can wrap it up in “good intentions”. In Obama’s view America is a deeply sinful nation of white devils, and deluded blacks. It is always better to “fix” social “injustice” through coercive state power than through the organic self-organizing principles recognized by John Locke. On other words he is with Robespierre rather than Thomas Jefferson.