September 21, 2016 10 Comments
This morning at the Watchtower, Chalcedon started his post with this:
Democracy is boring. It involves discussing things in representative assemblies – aka ‘talking shops’; it means compromises – aka ‘fudging things’; it involves not always getting what you want – aka ‘selling out’.
Do go and read it, I’ll wait for you, and this will make more sense, with his as background.
I certainly agree, and would add that it is a feature, not a bug. As an American, when I look at the British government, well it’s terrifying. Parliament can literally do anything. The Prime Minister is a creature of parliament. Parliament itself is the supreme court. No checks, no balances, nothing. Only the Grace of God to prevent what the 3rd Marquess of Salisbury feared from happening even more often.
As I have said, there are two points or two characteristics of the Radical programme which it is your special duty to resist. One concerns the freedom of individuals. After all, the great characteristic of this country is that it is a free country, and by a free country I mean a country where people are allowed, so long as they do not hurt their neighbours, to do as they like. I do not mean a country where six men may make five men do exactly as they like. That is not my notion of freedom.
And that is why so many of us refer to the United States as a Republic. We have rules, set, as close as man can, in stone. The key thing actually is that the federal government is a government of enumerated powers. It can only do the things it is chartered to do, essentially what the preamble to the constitution states.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Granted it has gotten stretched well beyond what the founders had in mind, and the states are plenary government, that can do anything not prohibited.
A few points here.
- Our founders feared a strong central government. That’s why the government’s power is so circumscribed, and then divided three ways.
- The founders also feared what John Adams called ‘Mobocracy’. That’s why the president is not elected by the people, we elect electors in each state who then elect the president. And that is also why the Senate used to be elected by the state legislatures. It was designed that way to slow down the passion of the mob and allow a cooling off period.
- They also feared a standing army (with cause). That why the US Army, alone in the government can only be budgeted for 2 years.
It’s all about keeping the people, and only the people, not 50% +1 of the people, sovereign, not Congress, certainly not the President, not even the Supreme Courts, or the states, only the people.
Reagan said that “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”
He meant it and we still do. So Chalcedon is right as well about the second amendment. No, it’s not about hunting, although many of us enjoy that. Nor is really about the right of self-defense, although that is valid. And while the man who put the terrorist down last weekend in St. Cloud, MN is a sworn officer, he is a reserve and hadn’t been on duty for two months. What he does for a living is that he is an NRA certified instructor, mostly teaching and training concealed carriers. This was said once:
The right of self-defense is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and when the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any color or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction.”
— Henry St. George Tucker (in Blackstone’s Commentaries)
And that is the purpose, it follows on from the inbred distrust in Anglo-Saxon communities of standing armies and aristocracies. Many say it can’t work anymore, but I wonder. Does anybody think the Americans can’t make as good partisan fighters as the Afghans? You might ask Lord Cornwallis about that. We wrote that book, with a fair amount of input from the Native Americans. It’s also germane that there are over 300,000,000 small arms in civilian hands here. It’s not a sure thing, for either side, and so prudent men wait and think and try to find a better way.
Putin and Assad are, perhaps, representative of their societies, but they are not of ours. Chalcedon is again right when he speaks of Hitler, Mussolini, Lenin, and Stalin. And while they were not as evil, Wilson, FD Roosevelt, George HW Bush, and Obama could be included. And likely some British PMs too. The wanting for a man on a white horse to right our perceived wrongs is as universal, as it is pernicious.
The identity politics we are seeing in the west, if we don’t get over it, will destroy our civilization. Jess and I wrote a short series on this a while back. Since this is already overlong, I’ll simply link you there, you’ll find them here, and here.