Harry Reid hates anarchists. Was Reagan an anarchist?

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Harry appears to have been reading up on anarchists in Barbara Tuchman’s masterwork, The Proud Tower. Or maybe not. Maybe he has just caught a few episodes of "Sons of Anarchy," in which all males in the tribe fashion the famous slashed A on their leather and even the women in, as they say, their “ink.” 

I got it first in the preview to the first season when Jackson (Jax), the prince of the tribe, (named after rough-trade rural populist Andrew Jackson?) is running parallel with the local sheriff on his Harley. When the new sheriff threatens him with arrest, Jax says, still riding, “We are all free men protected by the Constitution.”

So we know right off that Jax is probably a Tenther and, as a gun merchant, well up on the Second Amendment. But these bikers have come a long way since Sonny Barger and Hunter S. Thompson, who did his best work on Hells Angels. 

We learn I think in the second edition that the club was founded when Jax’s true father found a quote painted on a stone in the desert in Nevada. It was indeed a quote from that mother of all anarchists, Emma Goldman:  “The concept was pure, simple, true, it inspired me, lit a rebellious fire, but ultimately I learned the lesson that Goldman, Prudot and the others learned. That true freedom requires sacrifice and pain. Most human beings only think they want freedom. In truth they yearn for the bondage of social order, rigid laws, materialism, the only freedom man really wants, is the freedom to become comfortable.”

Goldman’s own definition is worth repeating: “Anarchism stands for the liberation of the human mind from the dominion of religion and liberation of the human body from the coercion of property; liberation from the shackles and restraint of government. It stands for a social order based on the free grouping of individuals.”

Note the “social order” part. Are there strains of this in "Sons"? I’ll say. But the gang here (they prefer “club”), like those in "The Sopranos" and "The Godfather" tells the tale of honor, family, responsibility and even adulthood, themes sent into exile by the common democracy to live in the shadows.

And there are traces in Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Texas Sen.Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin, Ron Paul and the Tea Party today, and there have been these past hundred years in Tolstoy, Gandhi, John Lennon, Martin Luther King Jr. and possibly Ronald Reagan. 

It is why Establishment writers like The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin urge conservatives to get beyond that western Tenther, constitutional conservative Reagan and move on to that Abbott and Costello of Eastern conservatism, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Jeb Bush.

And incidentally, you have to look closely but in season three, episode seven of "Sons," exactly 42 seconds into the story (I timed it) the Gadsden flag — with coiled serpent and “Don’t tread on me," a symbol of the Tea Party —does appear on the passage wall of the clubhouse, very quickly in passing.


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