Sunday, February 03, 2008

Why Boycotting Berkeley is Important

Last night, I watched the video of the January 29th meeting of the Berkeley City Council where resolutions were passed telling the Marines that they are "unwanted and uninvited guests" with in city limits and applauding those who work to disrupt the Marines from their mission. As I watched the video, I was struck by the brazen irrationality of a Council where pet ideologies are allowed to take center stage and where the publicity-seeking of a few malcontents is allowed to parade as the informed opinion of an entire community.

For example, according to Berkeley City Councilmember Maxwell Anderson, the Marines are little more than "the President's own gangsters" with a shameful history of "naked aggression." This man, who by his own proud admission was thrown out the Marines in the 1960s, called Marine recruiters "liars" who entice our youth to become racist killers. As judged by the fact that Berkeley City Council's passed his resolutions, the majority of the City Council shares Anderson's opinion.

If Councilmember Anderson and his fellow council-members were private citizens, one would care little what they have to say; their absurd ravings can be easily dismissed on their face. But these are not private citizens; they are members of a legislative body that by duty represents all the citizens of their community. These are individuals who have been given a special moral and legislative mandate; a mandate that they have chosen to hijack for their own benighted purposes.

Now as I point out in the online petition I drafted calling for an economic boycott of Berkeley and the suspension of all federal and state payments to the city, the City Council's wrath is grossly misdirected. Even if one chooses to oppose the current war, one must acknowledge that the Marines are not a policy-making body; their efforts are completely guided by the President and the Congress. To attack the Marines is grossly unfair; it essentially demands that the Marines ignore the very Constitution that they pledged their lives to defend.

In fact, the irony of the City Council's anti-Marine resolutions is that if one were to take their spirit completely to heart, one would have to advocate the mutiny of the Marine Corps; even if various hippies, beatniks and other gray-haired relics of the '60s that reside in Berkeley deny it, their can be no other real conclusion. The City Council has declared that at least in principle, it rejects the federal union.

My question then is just who are these individuals to think that the rest of us need them or are under any obligation to tolerate their ridiculous antics? Why should any part of our lives go to support the representatives of a city who hold that our Marines are racist murderers, and that the federal Constitution should be brazenly usurped, and that a local government has any mandate to involve itself in national affairs?

After all, the anti-Marine resolutions are the product of a Berkeley "Peace and Justice" commission; a commission that exists to deliberately involve the city in ideological issues that are utterly un-germane to the management of the city. Why should the rest of us subsidize it (or the citizens who vote to make it possible) though our tax dollars?

I thought that it was telling when it was reported that one of the recipients of federal spending in Berkeley went apoplectic when it was announced that U.S. Senator Jim DeMint would seek to cut Berkeley's federal earmarks. According to the Oakland Tribune, Ann Cooper, director of nutrition services for Berkeley Unified, DeMint's threat to pull $87,000 earmarked for her nutrition education program is "shameful."

"For somebody in the government, an elected official, to take away a program that's not only helping kids in Berkeley but is a model for kids across America, is just a travesty," Cooper said.

I say Cooper's rage is wholly misdirected. She should look no further than her city's leaders for someone to blame for the threat to her pork-money (money that I might add neither she nor anyone else in America has a right to receive). Her leaders feel no reticence in attacking the Marines, so I say it is high time those of us who love, honor and respect the Corps stand up and say that such a position comes a price. If the city of Berkeley will not have the Marines, its people should not expect any of the other accoutrements that come with living within our union.

In the broadest sense, the outcry against Berkeley City Council's actions is not about the war (or even about the Marines). It is about what life in a constitutional republic should be, and which leaders are responsible for what actions. As a local government, the Berkeley City Government has grossly overreached its legitimate mandate and it has done so in an obnoxious and offensive way.

In the name of justice, it's time to expose this for what it is: treason against the Republic itself.


Rational Jenn said...

This is important and I will link to this on my blog soon. Would you consider submitting this or a related post to the next Objectivist Blog Carnival?

Nicholas Provenzo said...

Yes, Ma'am!

Burgess Laughlin said...

A question for Mr. Provenzo or anyone who supports the petition (which I signed) or boycott: What are your expectations? In other words, a year or 10 years from now, what will likely be the difference in the world in which we live?