Sunday, July 25, 2010

Thoughts on "Everyone Needs to Read This"

The other day, I posted a link to the great article by Angelo Codevilla  in the American Spectator, America's Ruling Class and the Perils of Revolution. There is a lot of buzz about this among the conservative and libertarian blogs, in particular this interesting piece on Chicago Boyz. They also wrote an introductory piece here. I believe both articles are worth the time to read, but let me pull a couple of points from the first.

Though starting out with the observation that they don't particularly agree with all of Codevilla's article, they are largely in agreement on the observable facts:
What is hard to deny though, is that Codevilla is pointing a finger at a visceral problem of a self-aware ruling class in the process of ossifying and separating itself culturally and legally away from and over the ruled – an alien thing in American history. Something the ancient Greeks as well as the Founding Fathers would recognize as an “oligarchy“, a threat to democratic self-government and constitutional liberties.
Our oligarchy is in its newborn infancy, but it is hungry for power, venal in its corruption, covetous of security, impatient of democratic accountability and intolerant of dissent. Beware of legislative moves, cloaked in high-sounding phrases, to regulate speech, circumscribe criticism of public officials, grant police powers to private corporations like BP, tax farm the many to benefit the few, and generally exclude the public from important policy decisions by making citizen participation in governmental process more complex, opaque, indirect, financially burdensome and personally risky.  (editor's note:  I believe I can see examples of everything he quotes here)
Using this as background, the question in the second article is, "so what do we do?"  Can we defeat this self-established oligarchy, or are we destined to sink into a third-world, banana republic status?  There is much evidence we are perilously close, if not already there.  Can it be done at the ballot box, or is the cartridge box the only way out?  Is it as Billy Beck says, "All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war."?

Allow me to enter my thoughts.

First, we are very far behind the curve in this.  Busy with our jobs and lives, we've lived in condition white with regard to the politicians, electing the least offensive and asking them to do their jobs honestly.  This takeover has been going on for a long time.  In a way, it's almost pointless to ask how we got here, at least for now; we're here.  We're in the equivalent position of a kid walking to her car with her iPod playing, or on the phone, oblivious to her surroundings, then suddenly looking up and seeing a half dozen guns pointed at her.  We have a more important problem than how we got here.  Pardon the crudeness, but she knows she's getting raped, she has to work out if she survives.  I see the "Country Class" - the non-ruling class - in exactly that position.

Second, while we can't think the stupid party (R) is going to save us from the evil party (D), we probably need to shift to that party simply because the gang rape goes slower, giving us a longer time to search for a way out.  My default position, like most of you, is "vote out the incumbent", unless I know better for some reason. 

Third: the national political parties are not your friend.  Neither R, nor D.  The local scene is where the counter attack has to begin.  Back in the 2004 election cycle, I sent some money to the national party (Stupid side).  It wasn't big as contributions go, but I thought I might help the cause.  By the end of 2004, I was convinced they had spent my entire contribution asking me for more.  Seeing such bad stewards of the money, I vowed not to give to them again.  I have, though, contributed to candidates I think are worthwhile. 

Fourth:  we need to start spreading the messages about how far from the constitutional republic we have strayed, and the truth about big government.  Look at this piece of propaganda.  We have to counter it. 
Don't look at me on this: I'm obviously not capable of writing less than 1000 words on any subject and I couldn't draw a cartoon to save my life.  Advertising guys ought to be experts at saying catchy things in the fewest words possible.  This cartoon will influence people, and the message can almost fit on a bumper sticker.  We make fun of people who go around quoting bumper sticker phrases, but a good message should be something you can put on a bumper sticker. 

Finally, an observation from the Boyz:
...if you are the type of person who reads and understands Codevilla-like analysis, yet don’t ever consider running for office, then I think you might start to see the scope of the task ahead of us.  Look who you are leaving the political field to when you – and others like you – don’t even consider running, working your precinct, or encouraging other good people to do so.

It's true that we have an awful system that seems to select for the very worst people to run for office - another situation where we don't have the luxury of worrying how we got this way.  There's a story, probably apocryphal, that a person wrote an advice columnist asking how to do genealogy research on a budget.  The answer was "run for office".  I have read that under the current campaign finance laws, Reagan could have never gotten his campaign together - it took too long to raise the funds.  We are selecting for rich people willing to spend their entire net worth to be our candidates.  Somehow, I don't think the pool to select from is very big. 

The Boyz' column suggests, as many have, that we have the time to go through a few election cycles to right things.  I don't agree here.  When the laws that have passed since 2009 go into full force, by 2012, the republic is arguably gone.  We become nothing but a cow to be milked by the ruling class.  We need to get a truly obstructionist congress in place that won't let a single law get passed by the President.  Not.  Even.  One.  Even at that, with the network of czars that he has in place, the congress may be irrelevant and everything will be done by executive fiat.  After all, if they can go through the year without issuing a budget, a constitutional requirement, how relevant is congress?

John F. Kennedy once said, "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."  That is the course we are inexorably on if the Ruling Class continues to shut down dissent, close access to discussion, pass laws opposed by the majority of the country, or create their society by executive orders.  

1 comment:

  1. Precisely. The fact that Obama - and his entrenched "advisors", "Czars", appointed Federal judges and bureaucrats - rules by executive fiat, unchallenged newly-minted regulations, and governmental decree, we are already screwed.

    Given that Obama ignores Congress, the Constitution, and has stated he believes any time SCOTUs disagrees they are wrong, I doubt he will permit anyone else to be elected this November. Then the JFK's statement prediction might come true.