Are Republicans the Party of White Christians?

A family friend put me up to this short article, written by Alan Grayson. Mr. Grayson is a Democrat, and so we must take his writings with a hefty dose of salt. Nonetheless, he’s on to something. Let’s digest.

For a five-month period that ends this week, every single elected Republican in Congress was a white Christian.

Let me repeat that: every elected GOP Member of the House and Senate was a white Christian.

Now, I’m not certain of the veracity of this statement. But even if he’s wrong and a few minority Republicans existed in Congress during this period, there’s a fundamental truth here. The Republican party is on a trajectory to becoming the White Christian party.

Eric Cantor is Jewish. He left office on August 1 last year. Since then, the entire elected GOP caucus, in both the House and the Senate, has comprised only white Christians.

13% of America is African-American. 9% is of mixed race. 5% is Asian. 24% does not identify itself as Christian. 0% of those groups served as elected Congressional Republicans during the past five months.

GOP motto: “We’re monochromatic!” The GOP: Is it a political party, or is it a tribe?

Now this is where I begin to check out. The implication Mr. Grayson is making, whether or not he wants to admit it openly, is that the Republican Party is racist. It’s a simple answer, but not necessarily the correct one. After all correlation does not equal causation. And it is a sort of pot, kettle, black situation for a Democrat to be lecturing Republicans on their tribal behavior. The Democrats are, after all, undisputed masters of identity politics.

Fredrick Douglass once famously said:

I am a Republican, a black, dyed in the wool Republican, and I never intend to belong to any other party than the party of freedom and progress.

The Republican party was once the party championed by Blacks, Chinese and White immigrants alike. It was the party that ended slavery. It was the party of the North, not the South. So what changed?

Larry Elder, in his book 10 Things You Can’t Say In America gives us a clue. Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society came on the heels of the Civil Rights era. Political identities were in flux in this era. The Republican dominance of the Black community was up for grabs. Counter-culture was in full swing and Socialists were in vogue.

The Democrat hold on the South had been fading for some time. As support for Jim Crow waned, the Racists abandoned the Democrats for their own “Dixiecrat” party. Prior to this, it was the Democrat party which had pushed segregation, and the Republican party which had opposed it. A Civil War within the Democrat party ensued, between those who wanted to oppress Blacks and those who wanted to use them. Lyndon Johnson ended the rift in the Democrat party by jettisoning the Dixiecrats. But now he needed votes from somewhere else.

As Larry Elder explains in the book, Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society then introduced welfare into minority communities, in order to purchase their loyalty to the Democrats. This was necessary to replace the now-lost Dixiecrats. Libertarians and Capitalists will warn you about the dangers of the welfare state. The Black community is, perhaps, the most poignant example.

It is not commonly known, for instance, that Black income, education and marriage rates were far better in 1960 than today. Don’t mistake this as an argument for segregation, but rather as an argument against the welfare state.

What does this have to do with Republicans? Well, as the South moved away from segregation, reluctantly at first, but more genuinely later, they were attracted to the Republican party. The South had always been very conservative in its ways. Segregation was what welded them to the Democrats. That and memory of the Civil War. But both were gone, and there was no reason for them to vote Democrat any longer. The Democrats, meanwhile, had gone off the reservation and straight into Socialism. JFK was, perhaps, the last prominent conservative Democrat. Today that would be considered a contradiction. And even then, he wasn’t very conservative (just ask a Cuban).

Lyndon Johnson’s success in welding Blacks to the Democrat party was then repeated for many demographic groups. After all, it worked once, why not again? Gays, Hispanics (with the exception of Cubans), Asians (with the exception of Vietnamese exiles), in fact pretty much anyone non-White and/or non-Christian who wasn’t a refugee of Communism was courted by the Democrats. They became the masters of identity (tribal) politics. The Republican party never really found an answer to this, but the White Christians, feeling something was off about the Democrat party, stayed with the Republicans anyway.

It became the de facto White Christian party because the Democrats had successfully lured everyone else away with promises of free stuff. Blacks voted 92% Democrat in 2000. More, obviously, in 2008. In the 1920s, Blacks were voting reliably and mostly Republican. That is how successful the Democrats were. In one century they completely turned the political affiliation and ideology of an entire ethnic group.

It’s a sad state of affairs, because the message of free markets and traditional values isn’t one restricted to White Christians. Indeed, the Hispanic communities are not very distant from the White communities in this regard. I sometimes view them as the “low-hanging fruit” in racial politics. Fred Reed says something fundamentally similar in his article on Hispanic immigration. The Republicans could pluck them with relatively low effort. You could even secure the border properly, if done right. I married into a Hispanic family, and I don’t think they are very enamored of illegal immigration either. It brings in too many Socialists.

But the Republicans don’t know how to. It isn’t so much that I think Republicans are racist. Personally, I’ve felt that the Democrat policies are far more racist than the Republican ones. But the Republicans have been the party of White Christians too long to understand how to appeal to others. And that’s the real problem.

It doesn’t need to moderate its positions so much as tailor its message correctly. In fact, the Libertarian wing of the Republican party has great popular appeal, if it weren’t suppressed by the Establishment Republican old guard. The early Tea Party gained a lot of ground by identifying with this group (it lost steam later). With one swoop they could eliminate most of the common Democrat arguments against them. But they won’t, because the stodgy Old Guard elite keeps watch over the thing. They work hard to ensure nothing really changes. I’m not sure they even want to win. They are content as Fabian Socialists, low-fat Democrats, RINOs, whatever you want to call them.

Mr. Grayson intended this as a hit piece on Republicans, I’m sure. And don’t misunderstand me, I’m not enamored with the party either (although I like Mr. Grayson’s party even less). But, in truth, it could be used as a roadmap back to relevance.

I’m sure that wasn’t his intention, of course.

Slavery and Romans: Forget Racism, Follow the Money

Slavery exists. Right now. In America today. But it isn’t the sort peddled by the media. They will tell you about racism, or sexism, or whatever -ism is currently in vogue. A group will be called the oppressors, another the victims.

This isn’t the slavery I refer to. Debt is.

To understand slavery, we must go back to another multi-ethnic, hegemonic empire: Rome. The Romans were consummate slavers, and they had no care whatsoever for the race of the slaves or the slavers. It was entirely possible, for instance, for a Black man to become a Roman citizen and own White slaves.

They cared about money. Slavery was a debt that you worked off.

As expert slavers, the Romans knew that a relief valve had to be created. The carrot to go with the stick, as it were. For most of Roman history, it was possible, even common, for the slave to buy his own freedom. It was also common for free men to sell themselves into slavery, even for whole families to do this. This might seem like anathema to Americans today, but in those days a poor family might survive better under a master than on their own. And, indeed, selling yourself into slavery might provide the money needed to help your family prosper. A father might sell himself into slavery to provide a dowry and a good life for his daughter.

The relief valve was imperfect. Sometimes the impetus to slave was too strong and harsh, and a Spartacus-like figure would arise, desiring to free the slaves. Other times it was too weak, and the economy struggled for a source of cheap labor. This happened in the Western Empire in the fourth and fifth centuries, as Christianity excised the practice from the Empire.

Spartacus. Let us just say that if he were alive today, he wouldn't care much for bankers either.

Spartacus. Let us just say that if he were alive today, he wouldn’t care much for bankers either.

Anyway, slavery in Rome was a system of mutual obligation. The master had to care for the slave, provide food, housing and the like. The slave was required to work for the master. The master often gave the slave great discretion in this; many were trusted advisers, artisans, blacksmiths, etc… Many were educated at the master’s expense, in order to be more useful workers. The slave might simply walk away from the master’s residence a free man (unless caught later — but that was more difficult then). But they didn’t, because life as a slave was often preferable to the alternative: life as a poor free man. And a pleased former master was a good person to have on your side. Slavers were rich and well-connected, generally.

Is this starting to sound familiar? It should. This is exactly how banking works in modern America. The bank provides you with the means to obtain a home, education, transportation, financial cushion (credit cards, etc…). In return, the bank owns your labor over a specified period. Oh, it’s more humane today than it was for the Romans. The chains are invisible, the accommodations much better than before. You can choose which jobs you wish to do, so long as the payments are made. But this is more a function of technology than any kind of sociological progress. It is more efficient in a modern context to do it this way. Overseers, whips, chains and fences are expensive, after all.

Like the slaves of old, one could do a great deal of work on the side. Any time not spent in the pursuit of the master’s orders could be used to work for yourself and collect savings. Many slaves, born into slavery, obtained their freedom in this manner. They paid off the debt to the master and left free men, often carrying along substantial savings to start a new life somewhere.

When I was a child, my grandfather used to take me into church more than I liked. I found the blathering sermons profoundly boring, as most children did. But I remember one in particular.

The pastor quoted a passage from the Bible dealing with the obedience of the slave to his master. He stopped to explain to the audience that the Bible was using terms in a different manner than we used them today. The slave was an employee, he said, and the master an employer, or a man to whom obligation was owed. Whatever else the Bible might be, it is a window into the ancient Roman world and its ways. In this, the book and the pastor were right.

You are slaves. You have debt, you have obligation to labor for another. And only when that debt is discharged and gone will you have finally purchased your freedom. Consider this next time you sign on the dotted line.

Ferguson and the Barbarians Within

I have been waiting some time for the Ferguson affair to reach this point. That we would be here, watching a city burn, was inevitable. The only uncertainty was which city would be turned to ash, which ghetto would produce the unrest. Michael Brown’s death sealed that well enough.

Watch this video to get an idea of what’s going wrong here.

riot

Let’s get a few things straight. I don’t care what the ruling was or how much you might think it was unfair. There is no excuse for barbaric behavior like this. Talking heads are prattling on about “understandable anger” and “justifiable rage against oppression.” They are only doing so because the violence did not take place in their hometown. Safe behind their lily-white gated communities, they can theorize about Black Rage and the evils of slavery, 150 years dead. They aren’t suffering, and they don’t seem too broken up that Blacks are bearing the brunt of their own rage. Sometimes I think gated communities are as great a threat to civilization as the fucking ghetto.

Justified violence? This is nothing of the sort. Want to see how justifiable rage works? Go read about Ghandi. At least he didn’t set cities on fire. These people are barbarians, thugs and trash. They are not the civilized people clamoring for an end to police militarization, they are agents of chaos, opportunists taking advantage of the stupidity and misguided self-loathing of the American people. The rioting, the looting, the burning… this is not about Michael Brown any more than the Rodney King riots were spurred on by a love for that individual.

To the people who would still argue with me, I have this message. Read it carefully:

Oh, go on about the militarization of police. Stick a camera on every officer. Fine. I don’t like the agents of the government any more than you do. I’ve been ranting and raving about them for years, but did people listen? No, you told me that government was good and we needed more of it. They needed more power, you said. The expansion of police power concerns me more than most. It concerned me long before this dumbass thug got himself shot.

But no, everyone thought the government was on their side, that it was a good and reasonable actor. Now you know, don’t you? Now watch your cities burn, watch the barbarians inside the gates tear down civilization and the ineffectual but well-armed bureaucrats do their thing, pepper spraying the few peaceful people and ignoring the looters (too dangerous to do your job, eh). I told you this would happen.

Ethnic ghettos + militarized police = Civil War. History is clear on this point. Do you not remember Serbia? Bosnia? The fucking Ottoman Empire? How about the collapse of the Frankish Empire or the breakup of the Soviet Union and its fun in Chechnya. No. Because you were too busy complaining about wealth inequality, $0.77 on the dollar. Videos of men catcalling women. Woe is me. I can’t afford an XBox One.

Ferguson, Missouri. Coming soon to a city near you. My fucking country is infested with dumbasses.

Evils of Bureaucracy, Part I

Evils of Bureaucracy, Part I

bureaucracy11

Images of obstructive bureaucrats feature heavily in film. Consider the typical police procedural work. Invariably there will be a flunky or chief someplace which will insist on obviously ineffective policies. The protagonist will somehow surmount these difficulties (often threatening to resign his badge) and catch the villain. Viewers are left with the impression that the flunky is wasteful and meaningless. So why was he there in the first place?

Fargo-Episode-1.04-Eating-the-Blame-Promotional-Photos-11_FULL

This might be the most common cliche in film. Policeman, meet your real enemy, the inane bureaucrat.

Reality brings us the most feared of all bureaucrats in the United States: the IRS auditor. Auditors are, perhaps, more feared than policemen and battalions of armored vehicles. Everyone is accountable to them, but as Lois Lerner and her lost hard drive attests, they are accountable to no one save, perhaps, the President.

How did the bureaucrats gain such power? Even the lesser forms, the DMV workers, bring forth images of long wait times, exceedingly poor service and demands for “papers please.”

To understand, one must go back to the very beginning of civilization, which saw the rise of agriculture, metalworking, writing and, yes, the bureaucracy. Writing is the function most tied to them. In ancient Egypt, hieroglyphs originally formed as decorations, but by the the period immediately preceding the First Dynasty, it becomes obvious that the pictographs were being used for something else entirely. It wasn’t quite writing yet, in the traditional sense that I am using to communicate now, or even the sense that later hieroglyphics would become.

ledger

The first branding. This isn’t quite writing, yet.

No. These early markings were used in trade. Ledgers came into existence, showing certain numbers of wine jars, livestock, weapons and other products exchanged or documented. The man recording these things was probably the first bureaucrat in history. His job was to carve on the clay and stone tablets for his master, probably a wealthy merchant or noble kinglet.

Initially, bureaucrats were quite useful. The merchant had better things to do than carve pictures into rocks. But the pictures were useful, and the scribe got his share of the loot for his efforts. Things were good.

Soon, however, as writing systems advanced from ledgers to full-fledged hieroglyphics, the system began to drift from common understanding. The merchant may not have had the time to ponder the details of his accounting, but six pictures of wine jars was clearly understandable by him where sets of thousands of pictograms, each having meaning both as pictures and as sounds, might not be. Writing became the exclusive domain of the scribes, priests and the highly educated.

640px-Rosetta_Stone

Hieroglyphs were nearly impossible to understand for modern archaeologists before the Rosetta Stone was found. It was more or less the same in Ancient Egypt. While a peasant could figure some meaning from the pictographic representations, only a priest, scribe or well-educated noble could actually read it. I bet the first inscription said “ha, we’re about to steal a whole lot of shit from you.”

Bureaucrats realized that they possessed a minor superpower. Cooking the books was possible for them, so long as the books did not deviate so far beyond reality that the merchant or king discovered the deception and had them executed for the theft. Graft entered the world as an additional benefit for the bureaucrats. Eventually this benefit far outweighed the crumbs tossed their way by merchants, traders and nobles. You cannot underestimate how awesome this was for bureaucrats, they could steal without risking themselves. They could tell someone the law said this, when it really said that.  They could interpret the signs of the Gods and write down proclamations for their favor. See that tablet, peasant? It says if you don’t give your firstborn to the priests of Horus, the locusts will consume you. Yeah, that’s what it says. See? Right here!

Egypt remained remarkably static for nearly three thousand years, in this form. But more dynamic civilizations eventually supplanted them as traders. Phoenecians and Greeks (earlier, Myceneans) understood the value of written accounting, but eschewed the complex writing systems of the Egyptians and Sumerians in favor of simple alphabetical systems. Why? Because even though they couldn’t read it, they were practical folk, they knew how great it would be to not have to remember everything, or to hand someone a scroll instead of spending hours reciting cargoes. So they had to bastardize their own forms of it (they were traders, they would not spend years in a temple to learn this shit). Soon, without the burden of extensive graft, the Phoenicians and Greeks came to dominate trade. Eventually they came to dominate much of the known world, too, including Egypt itself. Graft really fucks up a civilization’s ability to mobilize in its own defense. Too many soldiers only exist on paper. Ramses II won too many victories, so how did he lose the war?

Right, bureaucrats. All of the temples say Ramses was the victor at the battle of Kadesh. History knows that is a bald-faced lie, but the peasants didn’t know any better. Ramses may have been the very first historical representation of Baghdad Bob.

Bureaucracy was, itself, innovative however. With domination of the writing system removed from them, they instead began to infiltrate the political systems of the host nations and cities. In Egypt, scribes and bureaucrats tended to avoid this (although priests occasionally got involved). After all, to them, it meant little who was on the throne so long as they got their cut of things. The Greeks and Phoenicians were wise to this and their higher rates of literacy made discovery of graft much easier.

Politically, however, the cities, with their Democratic traditions, were still weak. Favored leaders could be put forward in Republican venues. Leaders so advanced would be grateful to the bureaucracy and reward them with the desired graft. It might have been less than their due in static monarchies, but it was good enough. Graft reentered the system, trade declined and became less favored of a profession (Plato despised it — he was a bureaucrat). Increasingly, Greek and Phoenician traders moved on to found colonies far away from their parent cities, rife with bureaucracy and inefficiency. For awhile this was beneficial, and it certainly spread Greek and Phoenician cultures around.

Phoenicia itself faded away. Caught between rival Empires, it eventually fell apart. Its successor colonies continued to thrive. The Greeks, on the other hand, attracted the ire of the Persians.

Persia was part of a bureaucratic tradition too, one dating back to Sumeria and ancient Babylonia. Like Egypt, writing came gradually. Like China, the bureaucracy survived barbarian invasions, effectively subsuming invaders into Mesopotamian culture. When a culture is based on bureaucracy, like the Eygptians, Sumerians and Chinese, it can last an astonishing amount of time. Egyptian and Mesopotamian culture lasted well over 3000 years. China STILL soldiers on. They were useful to invaders, because they knew how to effectively steal from the populace. As long as the invaders got their cut, all was well for the bureaucrats.

Sumerian_26th_c_Adab

Looks similar to the hieroglyphs, doesn’t it? Well they were invented for the same purposes: keeping track of how much shit the bureaucracy stole and the rituals used to do the deed. Ironically, writing was one of the few positive contributions from them. Fortunately for the West, the Greeks and Phoenicians came up with simpler alphabetical writing. Sucks for the Chinese though, they are stuck with their pictographs.

And so a conflict between the spreading Greek civilization, only partially bureaucratized (and even then, only at its center), was inevitable. Similarly inevitably, the conflict resulted in an eventual Greek victory. Heavily bureaucratized societies can expand into smaller bureaucratized states with ease. They have difficulty defeating barbarians, but can assimilate them. What they struggle with is dealing with is dealing with states lacking stifling bureaucracy, because they get all of the benefits of organized civilization without the deadweight of excessive graft and waste.

So the Greeks and their Macedonian successors conquered Persia. They only needed a leader to push them into doing it, and so an eventual Alexander was almost inevitable. Unfortunately for the Greeks, this was the end of their dynamic, relatively free situation. For the Mesopotamian bureaucracy assimilated the victors as it had many times before. Greece became Persia. Rome became both. Carthage, the last and greatest of the dynamic Phoenician colonies fell to Rome who, in turn, fell to the Oriental bureaucracy. It is no coincidence that the dying Republic of Rome met its end in the sands of Egypt.

It was the triumph of the scribes, the priests and the bureaucrats. Now they would serve the Caesars. The graft continued. For a time it was good. Rome had no serious competition outside of Persia, itself just as hobbled with corruption. But over time, the graft grew, the economy weakened and dynamic religions made their appearance. Christianity won that battle, but in those days it was no sure thing. Upon victory, it was seized by the Roman bureaucrats who, to this day, still control much of it.

But successive waves of Germans, then Arabs, free of the bureaucratic tradition, broke the old Roman Empire. Its culture assimilated them, but for the first time in Western and Middle Eastern history, the great bureaucracy was broken. Rome was ravaged by the Romans themselves under Belisarius. The Goths, the Lombards and the Franks in turn destroyed the old system. The Arabs reduced North Africa, Egypt and Syria. In time, they would form bureaucracies of their own, but little connection remained to the old world. It was a dark time for grafters, but it was also a dark time for everyone.

Medieval banking provided the solution. As before, ledgers were needed by traders. How much gold did they have? How much stock in trade? This time, with alphabetical language and at least some literacy among the traders, the new bureaucrats could not use the same tactics as before. So modern banking began. At first a goldsmith would simply offer to securely store gold, for a nominal amount. But lending, exchange rates and complex financial instruments made their appearances, and goldsmiths became bankers. Watch the video that explains this in simple terms.

Within a few hundred years, bankers were the power behind the thrones of several major powers. Graft had returned. More modern attempts created central banking, fractional reserve banking and a number of other practices which, once again, involved taking things from people without their knowledge, stealing without seeming to steal. Middlemen were everywhere, but unlike a trader, who performs a function by moving goods to where they are desired, the bureaucrat does nothing.

The parasites killed the host as Rome fell. They have learned now. They merely take as much as possible without -quite- inflicting fatal damage. Socialism was a step too far, centralizing all wealth and distribution into the hands of bureaucrats, who could literally take everything. But people living under socialism generally realized something had gone terribly wrong. Perhaps they could not articulate it exactly, but they knew they were getting a raw deal, and that doesn’t work in the long run.

socialism

Apparently more subtlety is required.

So we’re back to the maximum amount of socialism possible, with central banking and a massive, 40% of GDP, bureaucracy. It seems that a bit less than 50% can be stolen, and the society still limp along. The bureaucrats have found the maximum permissible graft. But bankers still aren’t exactly popular. The people are naturally suspicious of them. Thousands of years of Darwinism ensured that paranoid folks survived in great numbers. So now, as before, bureaucracy is tied to media. If they control the gates to fame, to the media, to television, pop culture, music and publishing then, once again, only their word exists in the wild. When I said you could keep your plan, I meant only the ones that conformed with the new law! Duh! Just turn on CBS, they are saying the same thing.

And just like the first scribes of Egypt, 5000 years ago, they still speak in a language that you cannot understand, such that you don’t even know they are stealing from you. That has always been the key.

1984

1984

Orwell’s seminal work has come to pass. We’ve always been at war with Eastasia. Or Eurasia. Bush is a Nazi, but didn’t we defeat the Nazis? Iran is going to be the great savior of America. This is the same Iran that declared America is the Great Satan.

1984-screencapAmerica subsidized Iraq. America was at war with Iraq. America liberated Afghanistan, America invaded Afghanistan. Iran is an evil quasi-nuclear power. Iran is to be the savior of Iraq. Socialism is evil, except now Socialism is good. The same woman who says rap music disgusts her shakes her booty to “slob on my knob like corn on the cob.” Sex with children is a crime, except when feminist authors do it, because they helped so many women (except her own daughter who was raped repeatedly by her mother and step father). It isn’t so much the hypocrisy and the shifting attitudes of the proles that is worrisome. Rather, it is the absolute ignorance of the proles that concerns me. They will do and countenance whatever their masters tell them. They aren’t even moral agents because they have no independent moral compass. Two Minutes Hate on Guns (but more guns for cops to shoot dogs with).

Then there is this doozy: PETA, a group that claims to love and cherish animals, pursues a policy of killing them. They don’t even hide the doublethink, it’s right there on their website.

Every human is a hypocrite. We have all done things which we do not approve. Rather, it is the utter lack of awareness or concern that is, itself, something to worry about. The Left was against bombing in the Middle East, until a Leftist does it. But it’s still not right when Bush did it? There is no coherence, no logic. It’s as if the invention of the DVD meant that VHS never existed. Bailing out banks is wrong, except when Obama does it. Bankers are evil, except the first female to head the Fed.

There are not rules for them except power and the acquisition of more.

We have always been at war with Eastasia. Or is it Iraq? Or Iran? Or Russia? What about Ukraine? Two Minutes Hate on George Bush. He did it. Is it Global Cooling? Global Warming? Nah. Climate Change. All changes in climate are the fault of middle class American white men. Except gay white men. And atheist male feminist authors who dress up like women. Benghazi is no big deal, and it wasn’t a terrorist attack, it was just a youtube video gone wrong. Except it wasn’t.

Give up your nukes, Ukraine. We’ll guarantee your sovereignty. Trade a traitor for 5 enemy leaders. But the Taliban is not our enemy, they are moderates. Moderates that gave aid to terrorists to blow our buildings up. Al Qaeda is an evil terrorist organization in Afghanistan. It’s the loyal moderate rebel force in Syria. Egyptian democracy is good, except when an American leader doesn’t like the result, then it is bad. White men are evil, except gay white men. 4chan’s Father’s Day prank was so believable it actually began to circulate legitimatelyWhy? Because the pranksters emulated the power-brokers so effectively, the proles figured it was an official Two Minutes Hate and they rushed to get on board.

The non-coherence of thought is evidence that most of the population are proles, and it doesn’t really matter what they say. Now it’s time for the Two Minutes Hate of Donald Sterling, Racist with dementia. Or was that last week?

Why Democracy Has Failed

Revolutionary documents are full of grand statements about the will of the people. “We the people” gives way to the will of the proletariat, but the message is the same. Governments, from the Republican forms to the Social Democracies and even the Communist Quasi-dictatorships all claim to derive their right to govern from the consent of the people.

There is no consent in a Democracy.

On the face of it, this sounds insane, even at odds with my own stated Libertarianesque philosophy. However, it is entirely congruent.

America is reputed by some to be a democracy. Certainly the talking heads taking national stage refer to it as such. Others call it a Republic and consider it to be a form of limited democracy. While the latter are probably more consistent with the vision of the Founding Fathers, both sides miss the greater issue.

None of us have consented to government control because everyone disagrees with at least some of what government does, and does not consent to it. If Congress passes a law banning Widgets, because someone convinced a majority of Americans that Widgets are bad, then Widgets are illegal for all — even those who disagree with their illegality. Now, consider that Congress also bans Kludges for the same reason. Not all those who wished to ban Widgets also support banning Kludges. Some would prefer to ban both, some would ban neither, and others might ban only one or the other.

In other words, everyone, from the most die-hard Progressive to the staunch Conservative, can find laws they despise. Or they despise the lack of a certain law. The point is, democracy cannot satisfy everyone at an even basic level. It is unclear if democracy can even satisfy a majority at a basic level, even when each law is crafted on an ostensible platform of majority support.

So a large minority, or even a slim majority, of the citizenry will feel that the government does not represent them. That is not an expression of the will of the people. This is why Democracy fails.

That, and blatant stupidity on behalf of a large chunk of the populace. Some people have no business voting on anything of importance. The trick is, separating those people from the voting rolls without someone else crying foul. Atheist Progressives are often inclined to think that  people who believe in a mysterious sky wizard and aren’t big on gay marriage are unfit to vote. Faithful Christians are often inclined to think the Atheist Christian Haters and their one-sided expression of tolerance have no business saying anything on behalf of government.

And so, in the Progressive-Conservative political war, more voting soldiers are needed on the front lines of the ballot box. Useful idiots on both sides are countenanced and permitted access to the booth in order to bolster the ranks.

We have already established that Democracy’s claim to “consent of the people” is specious at best, the vast application of stupidity at the voting booth also removes the claim of democracy being effective, or even competent. When Marion Barry was convicted of smoking crack  and dealing with prostitutes in the mayor’s office in D.C., the citizenry of Washington D.C. gleefully reelected him. Ted Kennedy drove a woman off a pier, and that was obligingly overlooked by his constituency. Both were individuals who clearly did not belong anywhere near the levers of power, but that didn’t matter to the Low Information Voters. The people have spoken, right? Todd Akin, fortunately, lost his office with his moronic statements about abortion, but it was a near thing.

Republicanism, that is to say the concept of a democratically elected government that has clear limits placed on its powers, may be somewhat preferable to outright democracy. But those Constitutional limits can be overturned eventually. It may be that Republicanism only delays the descent into Democracy by Stupid.

Now, before you start lecturing me on the evil of Dictatorships and Monarchies, let me first say that I agree with you. Those aren’t viable alternatives either. But the fact remains that a great many people, perhaps even an outright majority, have no business voting. The means for limiting the vote in an equitable manner (no, that’s not a contradiction) is a thing yet to be discovered. But we should be looking for it, just the same.

We should also dispense with the fiction that anything about modern America gives more than lip service to the notion that the government represents the will of the people. The government doesn’t care about your will, or even some mystical aggregate of all the wills in the country. It’s possible it never did, but it certainly doesn’t today.

Consider a relatively popular initiative here in my home state of Florida. A substantial majority (68%) of Floridians support the legalization of medical marijuana. There is even a close 50-50 split in those who support full recreational legalization. But the battle for medical marijuana is closely fought and has a good chance of being defeated. Why? Because the consent of the people is a fictional device, designed to make you believe that your voice is heard, or even worth anything to those in power in the first place.

The Divine Right of Kings has been replaced with the Statistical Average of Aristocrats. The result is the same.

Democracy has failed.

%d bloggers like this: