Andy Berke, trying to keep his job is mayor of Chattanooga, is a typical old school progressive politician whose personal mores reflect his political ethic.
Mr. Berke insulates himself in city hall and is difficult, if not impossible, to contact. He controls his message and doesn’t like anyone to distract voters and other citizens from it. Mr. Berke is a Democrat lawyer and egalitarian who favors state intervention to remake society along revolutionary lines, appealing to extreme individualism and relying on nondemocratic external mandates.
By David Tulis / Noogaradio 1240 AM 92.7 FM
He favors the slaying of the unborn if it suits the mother, supports homosexual activity under the pretense of marriage, and holds old-fashioned progressive views on law enforcement that reject what policing reformers call “the sanctity of life.”
His policyspeak throws its voice to pretend he believes in free enterprise, local economy and so-called faith-based solutions. But his class believes people who genuinely think they can create a better society apart from the government and its agents are naive. These folks need to understand that problems in society are best solved by government. Mr. Berke is gracious enough with bumblers not to reveal any impatience with them.
Via campaign and office staff, Mr. Berke refuses to give an interview about his term in office or his campaign. His re-election is 17 times better funded than the campaign of his leading rival, so unless the wave of unrest that swept Donald Trump into Washington revives in Chattanooga, Mr. Berke seems likely to win the first round.
Marxist Jewish dictum
The Berke family members are practicing Jews. Their ethical tradition is derived from the law of God communicated through Moses. The ancient Israelites were communal in their dealings. God is totally personal among His children. Charity is personal, private. There was no state and no state welfare. God’s law ordained that His people live out their lives in a decentralized and horizontal social order, highly democratic, highly literate. ‡
The conversion of the confederation of 12 tribes into a kingdom was a sin against which the prophet Samuel warned. The first monarch, Saul, was an erratic tyrant, disobedient to God. The united empire collapsed after the reign of the third king, Solomon, and the Israelites were divided into two kingdoms: The wicked Northern, and the more faithful Southern, comprised of the largest tribe, Judah, from whose name comes the word Jew. Their centralization of government (progressivism, if you will) under a monarch was part of their ruin.
Mantra goes public
Marx, a Jew whom historian Paul Johnson says was a vicious anti-semite, popularized the maxim, “From each according to his ability, and to each according to his need.” The doctrine, if read back into early Bible history, tells how Israelites cohered lovingly as tribes and families, a distinct people set apart by God who took care of its own members.
But today’s political progressives, like their utopian forbears in the 1840s prior to Marx, depersonalize the doctrine and apply the rule of charity to the modern nation-state. The state becomes the tough-love Jewish mother, in the old stereotype, a caretaker who turns every citizen into a subject and public person, and who manages each household down to toilet tank sizes, light bulb wattages and free contraception.
Mayor Berke believes in warm charity. He believes in the kind of mercy ordained in the law of God and acted out in America’s middle period of the 1800s, as described by Marvin Olasky in his book, The Tragedy of American Compassion (1992).
But for Mr. Berke, charity is best blessed if under the authority of the welfare state whose redistribution of goods is by law so that no one who deserves help by right will be denied it.
The administrative state has seized mercy and good works from the church, the family and private organizations. It has wrecked local economy, free markets and a world of private relations and incentives to charity. If de Tocqueville were to return for a second tour of America, the charity that warmly characterized American society in the 1830s would be found to have been greatly weakened, thanks to Berke-style progressives.
Personal revolution vs. marriage
While Mr. Berke believes in state interest over private, he does not hesitate to assert private interest when the yearnings of the natural man come calling. Mr. Berke is under the shadow of a sexual scandal arising from such eruption, though none of his challengers — David Crockett, Larry Grohn or Chris Long — are bringing it up.
He stands accused of adultery by Bobby Stone, whose wife Lacie is a leading Berke adviser. Mr. Stone sued for divorce against Mrs. Stone after becoming convinced that she was having an illicit sexual relationship with Mr. Berke.
Mr. Stone gives evidence of being correct in his accusations. For a man to accuse his wife of adultery is what a law textbook would describe as a statement against interest, one particularly believable because it injures the person making it (what man would accuse his wife of such a crime, as she is flesh of his own flesh?).
Mr. Berke says “the allegations are absolutely false.”
If God is the chief injured party in violation of the marriage vow, secondary victims are family. Mayor Berke’s wife’s name is Monique, and the couple have two teen daughters, Hannah and Orly.
The parts of the Bible the mayor accepts as authoritative — the Pentateuch, the five books penned by Moses — make adultery a capital crime. Civil magistrates today do not enforce God’s law defending marriage, and at best adultery is a tort.
The gay revolt
It’s hard to stay faithful to a wife with female distractions at the office. Not only that, it’s hard to maintain one’s understanding about marriage with the rise of the homosexual agenda, especially as its shares peak with the revolutionary opinion Obergefell v. Hodges.
Mr. Berke rejects the biblical and common law definition of marriage as between one man and one woman. Homosexuality is an abominable crime in the law of God (Leviticus 18:22). In all of the original American colonies, as in Mr. Berke’s old Hebrew republic, sodomy and buggery were capital offenses.
Mr. Berke gushed over Obergefell, “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family.”
Mr. Berke supported “gay partner benefits” for lovers of city employees, urging his listeners to be on the right side of history. “In the 21st century, we must ensure we attract talented employees and remain competitive with local, regional and national employers,” he said. Passing gay partner benefits is a vote “for the equal and fair treatment” of all city staffers, thanks to bold “leadership” from city council.
When voters overturned the ill-defined and potentially costly measure, Mr. Berke said, “I have no doubt Chattanoogans value fairness and equality, and I am proud of the volunteers who spent nights and weekends to ensure our employees are treated equally.”
Gay theory is cultural Marxism, an extreme and vitriolic Jacobinism of compulsory virtue. So Mr. Berke has been cautious. He is a Southerner, and works best along the margin of the revolution. Gentleman A inserts his organ of generation into Gentleman B’s organ of excretion, and Mr. Berke averts his gaze, but he will turn to the cameras and call them married if they have gone to county clerk Bill Knowles for a license.
The progressive revolution has taken place within the form. Like the hagfish, the queer revolution enters the old form and devours its meaning from within. The revolutionaries are inside; the defenders outside. ‡‡
Quiet human deletions in ‘choice’
Mr. Berke favors the extreme individualism that allows a woman in Chattanooga to destroy her boy or girl so long that the child has not emerged into daylight through the mom’s birth canal. Mr. Berke’s euphemism for this view of justice and equity is “pro-choice.”
In 2014, women residing in Hamilton County, 75 percent of them unmarried, destroyed 224 children, according to state data. The destruction of the unborn from among city and county women continues with the favor of Mr. Berke and the state of Tennessee under the pretended authority of Roe vs. Wade in 1973 that declares the killing of any in this class of people a constitutional right.
Mr. Berke’s disfavor of the smallest fry unwanted by their moms is shared by many Chattanooga voters, 51 percent of whom in 2014 voted against a pro-life constitutional amendment.
If God’s law is of slight value, the individual believes he is autonomous, not bound by external controls or limitations. In this framework of thought comes a complicated life in the mayor’s office, with the reported illicit relationship with Mrs. Stone in the hermetically-sealed third floor of city hall.
Though adultery offends Christians and civil people, let’s consider how it could be an item of honor and praise for Mr. Berke. It indicates he is authentic to himself, and endures the status of one “condemned to be free,” as anarchist philosopher and existentialist Jean Paul Sartre would say.
If marriage is not what the God of Genesis says it is, but what man says it is, then the evil of violating a marriage covenant is not great. Mrs. Berke may be a victim of adultery and Mr. Berke may have made Mr. Stone a cuckold, but the marriage covenant cannot constrain the autonomous and private needs of Mr. Berke.
His subjectivist definition of marriage in the queer rights political context fits his personal acts like a wad of bills into a purse.
If marriage is not to be understood as God ordained it starting with Adam, how can marriage limit the personal expression and subjective pleasure of Mr. Berke? Why, only under the wicked constraints of moral systems such as Christianity that repress authentic acts of self-existence.
In such a world, nothing stands in the way of self-expression. Adultery may be unlawful, it may be an actionable tort, it may be a violation of a basic rule of equity and is certainly a shame. But if a couple have heart-ties outside of their respective marriages, how can anyone condemn their trystings if the origins are personal?
Mr. Berke lives out secretly the premise of his public theory, with marriage deconstructed and subjectivized by the court that he, as attorney, serves and obeys.
Politics is the maneuvering of parties prior to a law being agreed upon and inked into existence by an executive. Politics and elections are about ordinance and statute. Law is an enactment of a moral order, one declaring a good to be obtained, an evil to be suppressed. Mr. Berke’s politics, or his “policy,” identifies autonomous man as its standard. It is a shifting world in morals, and the individual indemnified.
No reform of policing
Mr. Berke’s views of the use of police fit into his progressive pro-state framework. Support by a fraternal order of police hints he is unlikely to alter the state vs. citizen paradigm in which police operate.
Regarding the city’s battle with gangs, Mr. Berke’s solution is federal cooperation, surveillance technology and harassment. His program to deal intimately and individually with gang members at community centers seems like a good idea, but isn’t fruitful if police operate on military lines. Pizza and Coke pow-wows might work among friendly dealings with deacons and church people, bringing alternative ideas and godly relationships to young men connected with gangs, guns, sex, drugs and power.
Community policing and a program to introduce cadets to gays, Hispanics and blacks do not remediate the cultural, economic and moral damage policing imposes on the citizenry, especially minorities and the poor, ignorant as to how to assert constitutionally guaranteed rights.
Mr. Berke has let Chief Fetcher slide for months on two cases of officer false arrest, perjury and harassment of innocent people — the Rochelle Gelpin and Hanson Melvin cases. These two citizens refused to be intimidated by cops and an abusive judicial process, and were acquitted by grand jury or judge. They filed administrative grievances alleging lack of probable cause and perjury, and these claims are lost in one of Chief Fletcher’s desk piles. Mr. Fletcher probably will follow the lead of district attorney Neal Pinkston, who declined to prosecute as crimes the deeds of city employees Jeff Rahn and David Campbell, both patrolmen.
Though Mr. Berke wants to help victims of the judicial-industrial complex expunge their records as allowed by law, he does not have any desire to scale back the cause of their problem — the routine law enforcement by his department, which is responsible for dragging people into the system. Many of them are caught up for paper crimes in which there is no victim, no injury, only an offense of statute. Mr. Berke has raised the number of law enforcers to 500.
Nor does he appear to have done anything to reduce the threat to people caused by the his department’s “line in the sand” and 21-foot rule that cause police to slay people who have done nothing worthy of capital punishment. These killings are justly called statutorily permitted extrajudicial summary executions, the most recent example of which occurred Aug. 19 in East Ridge. An employee of that city, officer Daniel Stephenson, slew plumber Todd Browning in his front yard and was cleared by DA Pinkston. ‡‡‡
— David Tulis hosts a talk show 9 to 11 a.m. daily at Noogaradio 1240 AM 101.1 FM, covering local economy and free markets in Chattanooga and beyond.
‡‡ This choice wording is in Garet Garett, The People’s Pottage, 1953
‡‡‡ See https://tnt23.wpengine.com/2016/12/pinkston-state-excuse-police-execution-of-east-ridge-resident/
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