Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Lorraine Devon Wilke — Buddhist Scholar Robert Thurman Says Norquist Pledge Is Treason, Video Goes Viral

...Professor Thurman thinks the Grover Norquist pledge is a “seditious oath, a treasonous oath,” and he wants to “start a meme” that stirs up the people of this country to give serious thought to what that means....
Thurman’s main thesis is that a person cannot hold allegiance to two masters, particularly conflicting masters, and properly serve either. He makes the point by, first, reiterating the oath of office that all Senators and Congressman and women take:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.
A noble, historical oath; one that comes, surely, with the expectation of loyalty and a willingness to do what comes with the job. Instead, Thurman points out:
“95% of the congressmen and Republican senators have sworn a written oath to someone called Grover Norquist and an organization called American For Tax Reform; that they will under no circumstances, and for no reason, raise taxes of any kind on anyone. And therefore they have taken an oath to an outside organization which is not supported by the U.S. Constitution – which gives Congress the right to levy taxes, to do the work of the people through the government –but this is a non governmental organization, not elected by anybody and supported by big money people who are making money by not having to pay taxes.
“And these people have signed a sworn oath that contradicts their oath of office. And therefore, in fact, they do have mental reservations, and they do have purpose of evasion and they are not sincerely taking their oath of office. And if they persist in that, and if they are held to that by this outside person who is not a member of the government, then they are, in fact, breaking their oath of office and they are not serving what they swore to serve the American people.”
Most would find this a compelling enough argument against the Pledge, but also consider the mission statement of Americans for Tax Reform, who, like many conservatives, see their mission as “starving the beast,” in reference to the government.
Norquist himself has stated:
“I’m not in favor of abolishing the government. I just want to shrink it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.”
Thurman takes issue with that verbiage, the implication of destroying the government. He suggests that people expressing fealty to Norquist are, in essence, agreeing to a kind of “anarchist” proposition; agreeing, by virtue of loyalty to Norquist, that the government is essentially useless and should be starved, destroyed. And that, he believes, is where the line is crossed:
"It’s actually a kind of seditious oath, a treasonous oath. People who take that oath cannot actually serve in the government with good conscience, because their real role is to act as a mole to destroy the government; they are 'starving the beast.'"
Addicting Info
Buddhist Scholar Says Norquist Pledge Is Treason, Goes Viral (VIDEO)
Lorraine Devon Wilke
(h/t Naked Capitalism)


Dan Kervick said...

Interesting. But it seems awfully weird coming from a Buddhist scholar. Nationalism and treason don't strike me as particularly Buddhist themes.

dave said...

sounds good, throw everyone of the assholes who signed grovers pledge the fuck out, and quickly before its too late.