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Dissent Not Allowed?

By Samuel Clemens

“Opinions all provided

The future pre-decided

Detached and subdivided

In the mass production zone

Nowhere is the dreamer or the misfit so alone”

  • Neil Peart, Subdivisions performed by Rush


While Mr. Peart was making a different cultural critique, it fits neatly into Washington’s culture in 2012. Recently, the fantastic Tim Carney of the Washington Examiner reported that the Republican Study Committee (the allegedly conservative caucus in the House of Representatives) fired staffer Derek Khanna. His crime? He wrote a memo that criticized the current copyright/”intellectual property” regime and offered ideas for reform.

“Conform or be cast out!”

You may be asking yourself, how could that possibly deserve a firing, especially given that copyright reform was an issue taken on by Republicans in 2011? Occam’s Razor applies here: his memo was deemed a threat to the crony corporatists who run Imperial Washington.

Carney notes, via Jordan Bloom at The American Conservative, “The reason, according to two Republicans within the RSC: angry objections from Rep. Marsha Blackburn, whose district abuts Nashville, Tenn. In winning a fifth term earlier in the month, Blackburn received more money from the music industry than any other Republican congressional candidate, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Blackburn’s office did not return calls seeking comment.”

Also noting: “Needless to say, members weighing in on staffing decisions is very unusual. Also, Blackburn isn’t just on the industry’s take. Her chief of staff is a former RIAA lobbyist.”

Shocking to the uninitiated. Par for the course for the rest of us.

To quickly summarize, the staffer wrote a reasonable criticism of one of the most strident and transparent examples of cronyism in our government, and he got canned from the alleged “conservative” caucus. If you thought “conservative” in American parlance meant limited government, you now have just one more example to disprove that grotesque fiction.

Of course, no one in Washington has come to the defense of staffer Derek Khanna. He has now become a toxic entity. Nor has there been much criticism of Blackburn, who claims to support limited government – so long as “limited” means “don’t limit anything that would affect my ability to reap huge sums of money from my cronies.”

Indeed, her campaign website proclaims: “When Conservatives need a fighter against higher taxes, higher spending, and bigger government, they send Marsha Blackburn. Marsha fights and Marsha doesn’t give up, Marsha wins.”

That is, she fights higher taxes unless they are in the form of unproductive government monopolies. She fights against bigger government, except when she is fighting viciously FOR bigger government. But the second part is true: if there is a lowly staffer who dares to tell the truth about an extremely untenable and arbitrary consumer-bilking copyright regime, she doesn’t give up until the staffer is out on the street and embarrassed in the press.

This sort of ideological opposition to anything that threatens Big Government is at epidemic levels in Washington. I’m often asked by “the regular folks” out in America why our government is broken. There are so many reasons it’s impossible to chronicle them, but fear-induced silence is a major one. Rocking the boat by even questioning any aspect about the regime is not only frowned upon, it is severely sanctioned as we see in this example. The thieves won’t even tolerate insiders questioning them… what makes you think the thieves would actually do something that decreased their power and privilege?

Of course, the sanctions are rarely this striking, because so few staffers or other insiders ever question, well, anything. To understand how Washington works, you must understand this: in order for a staffer to get promoted, they must obey unquestioningly. Even staffers who may come to Washington pure of spirit and with moral scruples fall into the trap of thinking, “well, I’ll just go along with it for now, and I’ll be able to make a difference when I finally get the promotion and the authority that comes with it.” The problem is, that day never comes. Because by then, Washington has you. She’s a vile temptress. A siren that latches on and destroys weak souls.

The truth is, very few staffers who are attracted to Washington in the first place have pure spirits or the desire to do what is right. Sadly, (and I know from experience) most staffers come to Washington with the express purpose of getting contacts in order to get the sweet six-figure lobbying gig. There is nothing in them to corrupt; they come expressly for the lure of corrupting for personal gain. Morals? Ha! Ethics? Overrated. Constitution? Outdated. Personal pride? They work for Congress! The scariest fact to realize is that there are far more Democratic staffers who are true believers with pure spirits. They actually believe in the nonsense they spout. Republicans, on the other hand, are deliberate manipulators, bilking the poor fools who trusted them to act on their rhetoric.

I recall sitting in the Capitol Hill Club (for those in America, this is the Republican hotspot) with a staffer I won’t name. The conversation went like this:

Samuel: “Can you believe these guys want to pass a five-year farm bill?”

Thief: “Well, they have to, you see. Their constituents and the Farm Lobby demand it.”

Samuel: “Dude, it’s literally called a Five Year Plan. You know, the same name Stalin gave it.

Thief: “You are awfully prone to hyperbole.”

Samuel: “You understand basic economics right? Supply and demand, surpluses and shortages? How much produce was deliberately held off the market with the express purpose of having the government purchase it?”

Thief: “Well…”

Samuel: singing Creedence “Five Year Plans and New Deals, wrapped in golden chains…”

Thief: “Look. My boss was put on the committee because there’s a lot of agriculture in our district. It’s his job to make sure they get their fair share.”

Samuel: “Why should the citizens of Pittsburgh pay for corn in Iowa any more than Iowans should pay for food stamps in Pittsburgh?”

Thief: “But foodstamps just go to lazy bums! Besides, this is what my boss wants. If I don’t help him, I’ll never become a Chief of Staff and I’ll never be able to make a difference.”

Samuel: “I don’t know about you, but I had to swear and sign an oath to the Constitution in order to serve here. The Constitution specifically prohibits the federal government from robbing Peter to pay Paul.”

Thief: “I hope it doesn’t surprise you that everyone hates you.”

Of course this conversation sounded much whinier on the Thief’s part, and my end of the conversation included a lot more profanity and ownage. But what can I say, I stop paying attention to details when commies open their mouths.

So the problem isn’t just the blatant crooks we call Congressmen. Staffers are spineless enablers. They don’t care as long as they get theirs. And they spend a hell of a lot your money watching Netflix for hours on end between sporadic bouts of stealing your money for their cronies.

The rare exceptions are those beautiful creatures like Derek Khanna, who would rather get fired in the pursuit of truth and statesmanship than play the pathetic game of politics.

Amplify what they can’t Defy…

-Samuel Clemens

About The Author

Austin Petersen

Austin Petersen is the founder of The Libertarian Republic, as well as the CEO of Stonegait LLC. Formerly an Associate Producer for Judge Andrew Napolitano's show "Freedom Watch", on the Fox Business Network. Austin was referred to by the Judge as "The right side of my brain". He built Judge Napolitano's social networks with over 700,000 fans and millions of clicks a month. Austin graduated from Missouri State University. He has written and produced award winning plays and videos, and previously worked for the Libertarian National Committee and the Atlas Economic Research Foundation.