man’ social orthodoxies could be severelyrncircumscribed.rnPace the New York Times and CBS, onerndoes not have to be a right-wing radicalrnto be deeph’ alarmed at the directionsrntaken by federal law enforcement agenciesrnin the last two decades, mostlsrnunder conservative Republican administrations.rnThese trends include therngrowth of national policing in the guisernof “interjurisdictional task forces”; thernpopular glamorization of informers andrntraitors; the seizure of property from anyonernlinked however tenuously to narcotics,rngenerally without a hint of duernprocess; and the increasingly militarizedrnnature of search-and-seizure operations.rnAll, however, are accepted and evenrnlauded because they are directed explicitlyrnagainst the indefensible—drugrndealers, cultists, child molesters, and,rnhenceforward, citizen militias and sur-rni’alists irrcocabl’ tainted h a terroristrnattack which thev did not commit andrnprobabh condemned.rnWhat we have witnessed in recentrnmonths is a masterly illustration of thernpower of semantics as a weapon of politicalrncontrol. If a group of quirk religiousrnzealots chooses to live apart, it is a “cult,”rnand \4ico taught us (or so we usuallyrnthink) that cults are violent groups whichrnmight direct their homicidal tendenciesrncither outwardly or against themselves.rnhi either ease, the death of some or all ofrnthe “cultists’7″suryivalists” is an inevitablernand een desirable consequencernof their own warped ideology: the morerndeaths, the more evidence of their fanaticism,rnhi the future, the ritual invocationrnof Oklahoma City will provide arnsanction for virtually any law-enforcementrnaction against any group whorncan be stigmatized with the variousrnhate/supremacist labels. Moreover, peoplernwho feel not the slightest sympathyrnfor \oddviews based on racial hatred orrnsupremacy should be avarc that the definitionsrnhave now shifted substantially,rnand that zeal for the rights of gun ownersrnplaces one under suspicion. So, probabh’,rndoes the “paranoid” suspicion ofrnperxasive corruption within the federalrngovernment, the deranged belief thatrnmurk secrets remain to emerge aboutrnWhitewater or illegal arms supplies tornthe Middle East.rnThe Oklahoma incident bore anrnuncaiim resemblance to an attack portionedrnin the novel The Turner Diaries, arnfantas’ about the overthrow of the UnitedrnStates go-ernmeiit b’ neo-Nazi fanatics,rnhi the book, so often cited but sornrarely read, the horrific terrorist campaignrnultimately succeeded because thernresulting state repression alienated sornmany moderates that they joined thernrevolutionaries. While Oklahoma Cityrnwas an isolated crime rather than a phasernin an ongoing war, is it really in the publicrninterest to portray so many Americanrncitizens as fascist goons?rn—Philip JenkinsrnT H E CONTRACT WITH Americarndid not exist before September 1994.rnThis was a time of surprising nationalrnfragmentation. Oiih two months werernleft before the midterm elections, andrnall o’er the country, Republican candidatesrnhad built campaigns aroundrnradical anti-Washington themes. States’rnrights were back. State legislatures passedrnTenth Amendment resolutions. Militiasrnwere organized. We were ruled by thernmost unpopular President in generations.rnA rebellious spirit was everywherernevident. Best of all, there was no presidentialrncandidate to swamp the hardcorernmessage of the local candidates.rnPolls in September showed the partyrnwould do yer well in November. That’srnwhen the Republican leadership beganrnto worry that they were losing control.rnWorking with pollster Frank Luntz, thernleadership put together a document thatrnwould, as Newt Gingrich said at therntime, “nationalize the message” of thernpart’. Not a person, but a piece of paperrnyvould serve as the moderating force.rnThe leadership got commitments fromrnmost of the candidates to sign the Contract,rnand in the end nearh 500 did.rnWhat could be the harm? Most of thernprovisions of the Contract appearedrnbanal if unobjectionable. Certainly, fewrnof the signers suspected the Contractrnmight aetualK serve to put a lid on thernradicals once the next Congress assembledrnand to make sure the people with arn”responsible” agenda stayed in control.rnThe leadership hired the p.r. hrm CreativernResponse Concepts to organize arnmedia blitz for the Contract, completernwith a national TV spot and a massixernUnited States map. The Republicanrnelite touted its glories and promised tornenact it once elected, the Democrats denouncedrnit, and the leadership prai,sed it.rnBut, in all, this was a sidelight in a seriesrnof exciting state and local elections.rnNever did the Contract with Americarnbecome the focal point in any grass-rootsrncampaign. It was not examined in detail,rneither by the candidates or the voters.rnAfter all, the candidates weren’t makingrncontracts with the whole country; theyrnwere making contracts with the statesrnand their constituents. Even after the expensivernWashington press conference,rnmost candidates continued to speak onrnthe radical antigovernment themes theyrnhad used for the past six months. Pollingrnin December, after the Republicanrnsweep, showed that very few voters knewrnor cared about the Contract. What consumedrnpolitically minded people in thatrnmonth was the damnable lame-duckrnpassage of GATT, orchestrated by thernleaders of both parties.rnThe Contract became crucial only afterrnCongress assembled. Suddenly it wasrnall that mattered. Bill Kristol beganrnthrowing wet blankets on the plans ofrnfreshmen congressmen to dismantlernWashington. He sent memo after memorntelling everyone to calm down and stickrnto the Contract. “Thank God for thernContract,” Bill said more than once.rnThe freshmen wanted to kill congressionalrnpensions, slash income taxes, abolishrnagencies, shut down buildings, wipernout whole programs, repeal gun control,rnrepeal NAFTA, get out of GATT, scraprnforeign aid, and more. It’s invigoratingrnjust to think about it. But the Contractrnkilled all such plans. A war broke out betweenrnthe radicals, the moderates, andrnthe liberals in Republican ranks. Thernmedia ignored it and continued to pretendrnthat the Speaker was all that mattered.rnAll hopes of real revolution wererndashed within the first week.rnThe Republican leaders claim theyrnkept the promises they made. Yes, theyrnpassed the Contract, but individual candidatesrnhad promised much more: to dismantlernthe central state as we know it.rnThe Contract prevented this from happening.rnThus, far from celebrating itsrnpassage, we should condemn the Contractrnas an instrument of co-option andrnbetraal.rnThe only point in the Contract thatrnactually helps average people (if it getsrnthrough the Senate) is the tax package,rnwhich pro ides a pcr-child tax credit ofrn$500 for families, cuts the capital gainsrntax, raises the exemption on inheritancernincome and more (though its Social Securityrnprovisions worsened this Ponzirnscheme). The rest of the Contract wasrncither meaningless (the Tenth Amendmentrnbill and the antiregulation bill),rnunenforceable by its own language (thernJULY 1995/5rnrnrn