The Other McCain

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Darwinian Terrorist: Feds Arrest N.Y. Man in Election Day Suicide Bomb Plot

Posted on | October 11, 2018 | 1 Comment


Paul Rosenfeld of Tappan, N.Y., worked as a house painter and was a sort of amateur political philosopher and, also, a would-be bomber:

Police and FBI agents searched a Hudson Valley, New York, home Wednesday and arrested the 56-year-old man living there after learning about his alleged plan to build a bomb and blow himself up in Washington, D.C., on Election Day, two law enforcement officials told News 4 New York.
Court documents say Paul Rosenfeld wanted to draw attention to his belief in an ancient election system called “sortition,” a method of choosing political officials at random.
Officials tell News 4 Rosenfeld had no criminal history but had told a reporter in Pennsylvania he planned to blow himself up on the National Mall around Election Day because he was angry about the country’s direction.

More from the U.S. attorney’s office:

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said: “As alleged, Paul M. Rosenfeld concocted a twisted plan to draw attention to his political ideology by killing himself on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. — risking harm to many others in the process. Rosenfeld’s alleged plan for an Election Day detonation cut against our democratic principles. Thanks to outstanding coordination between local and federal law enforcement, Rosenfeld’s alleged plot was thwarted and he is now in federal custody.”
Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. said: “As alleged in the complaint, Paul M. Rosenfeld planned to detonate a large explosive to kill himself and draw attention to his radical political beliefs. Had he been successful, Rosenfeld’s alleged plot could have claimed the lives of innocent bystanders and caused untold destruction. Fortunately, his plans were thwarted by the quick action of a concerned citizen and the diligent work of a host of our law enforcement partners and the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. I’d like to extend particular thanks to our partners with the Orangetown Police Department, the Rockland County Sheriff’s Office, the Rockland County District Attorney, the New York State Police, the New York City Police Department, and the Stony Point Police Department for their respective roles in bring this investigation to a safe conclusion.” . . .
In August and September 2018, ROSENFELD sent letters and text messages to an individual in Pennsylvania (“Individual-1”). These letters and text messages stated that ROSENFELD planned to build an explosive device and detonate it on November 6, 2018, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. ROSENFELD’s stated reason for these acts was to draw attention to his political belief in “sortition,” a political theory that advocates the random selection of government officials.

In March 2015, Rosenfeld outlined his views in a 1,600-word blog post that included this paranoid hypothetical scenario:

The logical end of majority rule is monarchy. The constant political maneuvering of individuals and factions must inevitably trend towards a winner takes all conclusion. Even today, despite all our “democratic” pretensions in the U.S., one might easily imagine a scenario in which President Jeb Bush (following an act of nuclear terrorism) suspends the electoral process, under the pretext that “terrorists” have infiltrated the Democratic party. A perpetual dynasty of Bush leaders would be a plausible outcome.

At the end of that blog post, Rosenfeld said it was “was condensed from a much longer essay” which he linked. I’ve uploaded a copy of that 9,000-word essay, “The Extinction of Politics: A speculation on the relationship between Ecology, Politics and Government,” to Scribd:

Paul Rosenfeld: The Extinct… by on Scribd


You can skim through that quickly and see that Rosenfeld uses pseudo-intellectual rhetoric in an effort to conceal his very limited knowledge of history, politics, economics and philosophy. There is, for example, the simplistic opposition of Adam Smith (capitalism) and Karl Marx (communism) as the only two economic theorists worth mentioning, typical of the sort of amateur who has never actually studied economics and, in all likelihood, has never read either Smith or Marx.

This crude conception of economics is common, and reflects the failure of our public education system. Rosenfeld is intelligent and reasonably articulate, but like most products of the American school system, was not properly taught the why of economics (or anything else). Why did Adam Smith write The Wealth of Nations? He was arguing against the theory of mercantilism, trying to explain to Englishmen that their true best interest was in the general expansion of commerce, which was best encouraged by a policy of liberty, rather than by imposing limitations on trade with such rival powers as Spain and France. To do this, Smith spent many thousands of words explaining how economic activity happens, how wealth is created from three basic sources, the wages of labor, the rent of land, and the profit of capital. The important point is this: Smith was not arguing against socialism or communism, ideas that had not at that time ever been seriously proposed. His explanation of economic activity was not intended as a defense of a political system called “capitalism” (a word he did not use), but rather an effort to show the rational basis of opposition to policies of tariffs and embargoes urged by others.

For the purpose he intended, Smith’s work was masterful, and the thoroughness of his treatment made The Wealth of Nations a founding text of modern economics. Unfortunately, it is the habit of small minds to yoke Smith and Marx together as an either/or binary choice, as if no one else in human history beside these two men had ever said anything important about economics, and despite the dissimilarity of authorial purpose between Smith and Marx. But I digress . . .

Just as Paul Rosenfeld’s conception of economics is crude, so also is his understanding of science. He begins his essay thus:

When The Origin of the Species appeared in 1859 the first people to appropriate Darwin’s ideas were the wealthy, who quickly promoted pseudo-scientific arguments using “natural selection” to rationalize their domination of society. At the time, anarchism, communism and socialism were all perceived as serious threats to the existing social order. Evolution seemed to offer a solid scientific rebuttal.

This is your sophomore Political Science 101 student’s simplistic summary of Darwin’s influence on politics, reflecting the prevalent sort of dumbed-down leftism that prevails in most classrooms. “Social Darwinism,” a set of ideas generally associated with Herbert Spencer (who coined the phrase “survival of the fittest” in his 1864 book Principles of Biology) is quite commonly depicted the way Rosenfeld does, as a “rebuttal” of radicalism, which is in its own way as absurd as claiming that Adam Smith was arguing against socialism. Spencer was himself a radical by the standards of 19th-century England, an acquaintance of John Stuart Mill and other radical thinkers, at a time when what we nowadays call libertarianism was considered as radical as socialism. Most importantly, Spencer was committed to a strictly secular (or “scientific”) philosophy, quite similar to the way that Marx and Friedrich Engels insisted that their own theory of dialectical materialism was the only possible basis of “scientific” socialism.

Well, damn your “science,” sir. Excuse me for clinging bitterly to my guns and my Bible, as Obama said, but it’s easy to see how subtracting religion from consideration — in politics, economics, philosophy and education — has unleashed dangerous forces in the world. The “scientific” belief in a godless universe is folly (“The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God,” Psalm 14:1), an invitation to perversion and insanity (“Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools . . . God gave them over to a reprobate mind,” Romans 1:22, 28). But again I digress . . .

In his essay, Paul Rosefeld attacks the Constitution as unscientific:

Grand Ayatollahs and Supreme Court Justices both wear black robes while enforcing conformity in the name of an ancient document, but there is a critical difference. The will of Allah is inscrutable whereas the earthly intentions of the framers were clearly stated in plain English at the beginning of their document. Secular ends demand secular means. When government becomes destructive of those ends it is the right of the people to change their means. This is the province of science, not religion. But the theological interpretation of the Constitution has become so ingrained we are blinded by it. . . .
The framers lived before Darwin. Were the implications of his work not profound with respect to human government? Surely they were no less radical than the revelations of Copernicus for astronomy. Where is the long overdue re-examination of “political science” that was so clearly indicated by Darwin’s theory? . . .
In the pre-scientific era Politics was arguably the only way of maintaining the class system which was central to the preservation of the human ecological dynamic. With myriad populations all competing for the same resources only the strongest and cleverest could prevail. Politics is a form of natural selection by which the strongest and cleverest homo sapiens lead their respective populations in the larger global competition. But, to the extent that this competition has (in recent millennia) been tempered by an impulse towards stability and justice (rather than expansion and subjection) politics has been supplemented by these other mechanisms (merit and chance). Now (under the influence of science) Homo sapiens have arrived at a point where stability is essential, and further competition borders on suicide.

To quote John Adams: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Rosenfeld obviously views himself as a profound thinker, and regards his fellow citizens as intellectually inferior — quite like the Unabomber, the Harvard-educated hermit Ted Kaczynski, also a terrorist.

If you ever get an urge to write a “manifesto,” prior to committing an act of terroristic violence, ask yourself: “Has this ever worked before?” Because to my knowledge, none of these manifesto-writing lone-wolf lunatics have ever succeeded, unless you consider Valerie Solanas the founder of modern feminism — which might be valid, but Feminism Is a Totalitarian Movement to Destroy Civilization as We Know It.