Skip to comments.A Republic If You Can Keep It Part II: The New Feudalism Tweedledum and Tweedledee go to Washington
Posted on 03/30/2007 5:51:53 AM PDT by grey_whiskers
In a recent vanity, I wrote of some of the temptations which the founding fathers foresaw for our Republic. In particular, the piece treated of the fact that the Constitution has been subverted by two main factors: unaccountable bureaucracies, hiding behind legislators who have (by accident or design) lost their own accountability to the electorate. This piece will follow up and elaborate on that theme, and considers some of the societal fallout.
We have seen, quoting from Thomas Jefferson and Alexis de Tocqueville, that the Republic as founded is subject to monetary corruption. That is, the legislators, given the power of the purse, have found a way to make sure that they get elected time after time: spend other peoples money. And the McCain-Feingold bill, abomination that it is, actually made things worse. The problem was not just money in politics : it was that the prevalence of money in politics made it impossible for the individual constituents to get their voices or concerns heard. And what McCain-Feingold did in the real world was make it harder for individual people to compete, because it ensured that only those capable of jumping through a lot of regulatory hoops (read: professional lobbyists) would have access.
So we are faced with the perversion of the American dream, that landed citizens with a stake in the community would temporarily set aside their own affairs, to govern disinterestedly for the greater good; instead we have our own version of the House of Lords (the Senate) who have taken up
bribery civic duty as a lifetime callingnoblesse oblige with its hand on the purse strings and in the purse at the same time. And what of us serfs citizens? We have become, as individuals, insignificant only so much plankton to the whales which feed upon us.
But there is a way (and only one) to strike back. Unfortunately, the way to strike back requires playing by the corrupted rules of the system, thereby assenting to and validating the corruption. I mentioned serfs in the last paragraph. The word was not chosen by accident. The feudal system came about as a result of the destruction of Rome, when pillagers preyed on villagers. So joining together under the protection of a lord, in return for a share of ones earnings, and the readiness to be called away at the lords request, became the only way to safeguard one's interests (or even safety). By analogy to the decline of Rome, we have already passed through the bread-and-circuses stage, and the pillagers are upon us from all sides: not only elected representatives, but large corporations, who started out providing conveniences and essential services, but soon became addicted to cash flow and market share. And of course, to preserve their franchises, the corporations have retained full-time lobbyists and lawyers. Look at the red tape involved in a single credit card, the releases from liability on so many products, such as the end-user license agreement from Microsoft
. The only answer for the beleaguered individual is to band together, to form their own special-interest groups and lobbyistsall in the name of returning to the way things were when government kept itself to itself!
And thus we appear to have come full circle. The American Revolution was fought in order to create, and to preserve, a way of life free from the corruptions and dominations of oligarchies run by those above the law. It is beginning to seem now that despite the best efforts of the founders, those intent on manipulating the system and in controlling others lives for their own advantage have won. The very checks and safeguards against such an occurrence have been voluntarily neglected by those stewards within government charged with safeguarding our liberties. And they have taken care to ensure that the citizenry is either lulled to sleep or can be safely ignored.
But on the other hand, not always ignored: politicians seek power above all. And right now, the Republicans and Democrats have found a very interesting way to keep power. They keep shouting things at each other, very harsh rhetoric sometimes, but neither side ever really lands a knockout blow on the other. President Bush could have finished off liberalism as a force for decades by appointing more Constitutionalists to the Federal Courts, but he didnt. He allowed the candidates to be filibustered. Or evendare I say it-- faux-filibustered. The Democrats didnt even have to show up and perform a real filibuster, they just had to threaten it.
So it seems the safest form of government for the major parties is to agree to disagree. It kind of reminds me of Tweedledee and Tweedledum:
`I know what you're thinking about,' said Tweedledum; `but it isn't so, nohow.'
`Contrariwise,' continued Tweedledee, `if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic.'
As long as we have mentioned Through the Looking Glass, I have a fanciful suggestion to make, in order to end this discussion on a high note. Even though the political feudalism is rampant, there is still this: as long as the form of true elections are followed, hope remains. Because if there ever is a motivated voting bloc, the politicians will be drawn to it like flies to honey. Recall that only around half of eligible voters actually go to the polls. Is this the result of apathy or despair? In either case, if even five percent of the electorate were persuaded to turn out, reliably, for a set of truly Constitutional candidates, the entire calculus of modern elections would be stood on its head. But is this possible? Some, Im sure, would go so far as to call this whole idea of a motivated Constitutionalist bloc nothing but Alice in Wonderland thinking. With that in mind, it is fitting to end with the following poem, and to dedicate it to the two major parties:
Tweedledum and Tweedledee
Agreed to have a battle;
For Tweedledum said Tweedledee
Had spoiled his nice new rattle.
Just the flew down a monstrous crow,
As black as a tar-barrel;
Which frightened both the heroes so,
They quite forgot their quarrel.
and in the meantime, do we have any volunteers for the role of black crow?
Do you own property and defend it from trespass?
Do you own a gun and reserve the right to defend yourself with it?
Do you legally resist taxation in all of its insidious forms?
Do you educate your children to respect and honor liberty?
Do you try to get ahead in life by working hard and showing initiative versus groveling your way to the top?
If you do these and countless other little things in your everyday life, then you are a patriot in the context of the times, and a vanishing breed.