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When I attended college at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the early 1990s, there was a fella who sold fruit drinks from a mobile stand on the campus’s Library Mall. It was called “Loose Juice.” If the name Karleton Armstrong didn’t ring a bell, you would have figured the bald, 6-4, pony-tailed guy as just another street vendor. But if you did know your history, you would have also realized Armstrong was one of the most notorious domestic terrorists in U.S. history, causing millions of dollars of damage as the often one-man shown known as the “New Year’s Gang” and who, along with three other co-conspirators, was also responsible for the destruction of Sterling Hall on the UW campus and the death of researcher Robert Fassnacht. back in 1970 to protest the Vietnam War.
Now Armstrong isn’t running for public office and is more or less a regular fellow in Madison these days. But there were other 1960s radicals from Tom Hayden to Bill Ayers to Bernadine Dohrn who went onto careers in politics and academia who advocated the violent overthrow of the United States government and some cases tried to bring this about. Yet these persons were allowed back into the “mainstream” of American life to the point where they can get elected to public office, become important public figures or teachers and generally be accepted in many walks of life.
Jack Hunter, on the other hand, simply advocated the secession of the South from the United State, not the overthrow of its government. The most controversial thing he did was wear a wrestling mask with a Confederate flag on it, not make bombs or rob banks. Yes he wrote some anti-Lincoln/pro-Conferedate things but in recent years he was trying to put that past behind him and work for U.S. Sen. Rand Paul. Unfortunately, there is no “mainstream” for Jack. He stepped down from Paul’s staff and is probably done with national politics. It goes without saying this case is an example of how some people’s way back to the “mainstream” is a lot easier than others depending on your point of view and the controversial things you did. If you’re going to be an ex-anything, be an ex-Commie. They don’t elect or sing the songs from ex-Nazis or ex-LOS members that’s for sure.
I don’t think Jack was pushed by Paul (if he was he would have been gone a lot sooner). Jack talked a lot about “playing the game” so he knows he’s become a liability to Rand and has acted accordingly. Maybe he’ll still get published at TAC, I don’t know (Dan McCarthy’s defense of Hunter, tepid or not is a lot better than no defense which I didn’t read from say Chronicles, National Review or Daily Caller or American Spectator thank you very much.). I’m always bothered by people who think politics is a “game.” It’s much more serious than that. When you lose, you don’t just finish in second place, get a silver medal or have another mark in the “L” column. Real consequences can be had, as Hunter found out the hard way. My differences with Hunter were more towards the way he and some of the members of the Ron Paul 2012 campaign pulled the rug out from supporters working hard to win delegates for Paul and getting beat up for their trouble. Yet these fellows, (particularly Hunter, Jesse Benton, John Tate and Trygve Olson) were already laying the groundwork for Rand 2016 and acting accordingly by endorsing Mitt Romney even while Paul’s father was still campaigning. Oh, and they had their nice new Beltway jobs all lined up for them as well after it was all over with. Call it resentment if you wish but many people made a lot of sacrifices for the Pauls and didn’t reap any windfalls. They deserved better.
Having said this, one does feel sorry for Jack at least in the sense that being a part of Paul Movement was an attempt by himself and many others to find such a “mainstream” for their politics over the past six years. Now there are those who feel this is a waste of time and they’re not altogether wrong in their reasoning. This is largely due to the hypocrisy of those on Left (from neocons to the New Nationalists) who act as gate-keepers for legitimacy for the reasons I mentioned above while denying to those they don’t like. Obviously Jack and many others, including myself, believe this is much more productive than pining for a Confederacy that will never come back or trying to play white identity politics in the same toxic PC environment. Conservatism may be a joke to some people but it is my opinion identitarianism isn’t going to lead to anything either other than a kind separatism at best (non-violent one hopes). And that’s fine, as I’ve stated on many occasions, if you’re happy with preserving you’re little corner of the planet. But if that’s the case, then you need to do so like Rev. Baldwin did instead of worrying about who is selling out today or cable TV show trials designed to enrich CNN.
Like all you, I’d love to have more discussions about Lincoln’s legacy that established American nationalization and eventual empire at the expense of the Constitution like a good Stephen Douglas Democrat (not a Southern fire-eater who, like Lincoln, also believed a house divided against itself cannot statnd, while they planned to annex Cuba) but unfortunately you can’t have those debates anymore because many libertarians and conservatives run for the hills anytime the words “Lincoln” and “slavery” get mentioned. I’m hoping much history is forgotten the time the 200th anniversary of the War Between the States is celebrated in 50 years because there’s still too much of it around. What’s the point when you can’t debate without being tagged as a “slaver”? thanks to the Nationalist Left and the unreconstructed Confederates.
It’s easy to engage in tribalism when your tribe is bigger and badder than the other tribes, has the guns or has the money the other tribes don’t. For whites, that’s not going to be the case for much longer into the future no matter how big your Maginot Line in the desert is going to be (oh by the way, are we building a fence for the U.S.-Canadian border too? Just asking.) It requires a different kind of politics for a different kind of reality. What was special about the Paul Movement was the fact so many people of different political backgrounds, religions, colors, creeds, etc. could find enough to agree upon to come together. That’s usually how one side wins at the political “game” (and how Jack Hunter began his writing career for a Leftist alternative paper (whose idiot former editor is now trying to play St. Peter). The Tea Party could have been the same, but instead it became the Disgruntled Republican Club which scared away those who could have broaden its base and critique. Right now, Rand Paul leads in the 2016 polls in Iowa. That doesn’t mean he’s assured of winning there or winnning the Republican Party nomination or even be President, which I admit is a longshot. But what it does mean is that from a tiny band communicating on conference calls in dead of winter of 2007, the Paul Movement has become serious player pushing the debate in the right direction, which is a lot more than other groups have done, and there’s more than just than him and more than just politicians who believe in the same fundamental thing: U.S. foreign and national security policy has to change or there will be no “smaller government.” Now I have been critical of Rand in the past for some absurd statements he’s made or dalliances with neocons he should not engage in. Luckily it doesn’t matter what “outreach” he’s made towards them because they continually slap his hand back. They cannot help themselves. It’s music to my ears because they can’t try to buy him off without standing down first to do so, which they incapable of.
Now you can call me naive or silly if you wish, I don’t really care anymore. I think it naive one believes South Beach is going to be a part of a reconstituted CSA. Unless conservatives or libertarians find politics which can transcend race given the coming demographics, they will continue to get beat again and again as time marches on and all the Voter ID laws and gerrymanders are eventually overwhelmed. Just as the children of Poles and Irishmen went from being New Deal Democrats to Reagan Republicans, there’s no reason why the children and grandchildren of Mexicans and Japanese can go from Obama Democrats to Paul Republicans so long as politics doesn’t become a zero-sum numbers game the way some are determined to play it. If that means I’m less a “paleo”, so be it as well. I really don’t know what that terms means anymore given its misuse. Like Jack, I guess I’m just not interested in playing Johnny Reb with y’all anymore.