Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Acceptable Politician

Mackay has taken a liking to one Joe Wilson, R-SC: What, he asks, is my opinion? My minimal requirements in policy stands for support of a politician:
  • abolition of the Federal Reserve and the replacement of the US dollar with a private gold coin standard
  • abolition of the income tax
  • abolition of all public welfare
  • abolition of all federal support for public education
  • overturn of Roe v. Wade
  • limited franchise
Given more time, I could probably think of a few more, but for the present discussion, these should suffice. There are several triggers that will begin the ticking of a time bomb which will eventually destroy any upstanding, liberty-oriented system. In the days of Solomon, there were acts of the king like the taking of foreign wives and the worship of foreign gods. Today's systems are more susceptible to items such as these. Note that the original Constitution as written upheld most of these proscriptions, and the culture of the day strongly discouraged violation of the others. Note also that each was overturned over the course of the last century or so: public education began in the late 19th century, the FED was established in 1913, the income tax a few years later, the franchise became virtually universal in the early 20's, major welfare schemes (Social Security, et. al.) began in the 30's, and on and on. Prior to this time, there wasn't all that much change to speak of, though some might include such instances as the Civil War and the centralization of power it brought about. Regardless, the process accelerated rapidly near the turn of the 20th century. Each breach in our legal armor led to accelerating erosion, both legally and culturally, and to further major breaches. Each breach has its mechanism of operation. Welfarism and the income tax set up internal conflicts and budgetary bloating that will eventually bankrupt any system, not to mention enormously detrimental effects on work ethic, thrift, and productivity and the corrosive effects of dependency. The expansion of the franchise inevitably leads to political debasement. Fiat currencies insidiously and nearly invisibly lead to a number of woes: economic instability, expropriation of property from individuals and aggregation of power with centralized government, cultural debasement, and more. "Cultural debasement?" you ask. Why, yes. Yes indeed:
But asset inflation—ultimately, the debasement of the currency—as the principal source of wealth corrodes the character of people. It not only undermines the traditional bourgeois virtues but makes them ridiculous and even reverses them. Prudence becomes imprudence, thrift becomes improvidence, sobriety becomes mean-spiritedness, modesty becomes lack of ambition, self-control becomes betrayal of the inner self, patience becomes lack of foresight, steadiness becomes inflexibility: all that was wisdom becomes foolishness. And circumstances force almost everyone to join in the dance... ...Inflation is not a bogey for everyone—not for those who wish to restructure society, for example, or for those who want government control of ever more aspects of people’s lives. But for the rest of us, the consequences of its full-blown return are not likely to be good: for inflation is not an economic problem only, or even mainly, but one that afflicts the human soul.
All are morally repulsive and inimical to liberty. One might take exception to my including universal sufferage, e.g. "democracy" on the list. Note here the change in how we define "democracy." In the days of Tocqueville, democracy referred to the right of each man to rule over his own life as he saw fit. Voting had little or nothing to do with it. Today, we take democracy to mean the right of all men to rule over one another as they see fit. All that matters is the vote. This is a very different proposition. In both cases, America strived to live up to the "democratic ideal," and as we are now discovering in the case of modern times, much to American's chagrin. The notion that there ought to be a universal right of everyone to "have a say" in his governance is laughably silly both in theoretical and practical terms. After all, what say did we have over the law of universal gravitation, or all ye Christians and Jews, the Ten Commandments? Do they not govern you behavior? Are they legitimate rules, or is God a tyrant? In other words, law does not derive its legitimacy from the democratic process. That some may argue that it does only illustrates their personal delusions. Legitimate law is legitimate law, regardless of how anybody votes on it. And now that you have your little vote, just how much influence have you had over your government? The answer: precisely as much as the other teeming millions who turn out to vote for the same set of goons every year, reliably sending 96% of incumbents back to their thrones. None. "Ah!" comes the retort, "but you miss the point! The role of the universal franchise is not to determine what is legitimate, but to ensure wisdom in our governance by tapping into the wisdom of the many." But if this is the case, then why must everyone have a vote, including such as the incompetent and the criminal? Clearly, this is not the point. In my view, the modern drive for universal franchise stems from issues of pride and recognition/acceptance, a warped version of the egalitarian instinct of the democratic ethos, wrapped up as it is in the so-called civil rights movement. Enlightened governance is completely beside the point. Rather obviously, I might add. But I've gotten off-topic. This was not supposed to be an essay on the evils of modern democracy. The point is this: all of these are essential policies, non-debatable, non-optional points for anyone who is committed to a libertarian/conservative/classical liberal social order, and anyone I'm to vote for in any election. To oppose any of them is to undermine the most fundamental aspects of what makes a civilization workably free, and, frankly, is to embrace eventual civilizational collapse. There is a self-reinforcing aspect to decline as well; once the ball gets rolling, it becomes difficult and then impossible to stop. Failure to hold the line leads inevitably to the horrors we now confront, or imagine we confront, in the form of Dear Leader Obama. Or, for you "liberal" types who managed to read this far, Bush before him. In this light, what am I to make of one such as this Joe Wilson, R-SC, the agitator with the audacity to call Mr. Obama a liar? Is he a champion for freedom? Well, calling Obama a liar simply isn't enough. What does he believe, and how does he vote? After all, gangsters don't just shake down passersby and hold up convenience stores. They beat up on rival gangsters as well. That we catch a glimpse of one such act doesn't make any of them redeeming characters to my mind. It takes a bit more than that. Fundamentally, the Democrats and Republicans (sans Ron Paul) are two sides of the same political coin. As far as I'm concerned, unless Joe Wilson or any other politician is in complete and unabashed support of certain fundamental principles now generally considered radical, he is functionally little more than a brownshirt beating up on a redshirt with his own idea of how the American totalitarian state should look (OK, so he's not a Nazi. But you get the idea: he's not exactly the opposite of a Democrat, either). He's not the solution, he's part of the problem. What do I care if his vision is different from Obama's? Who's to say that his vision is even remotely feasible, that his proposed policies would lead to the outcome he envisions? Without the points I have laid out (and obviously some others!), both paths inevitably lead to a centralized, fascist, and ultimately suicidal state, even if neither side intends it to be so. One will just take longer than the other to play out. It isn't enough that one is passionate. Marx, Lenin, Mao, and Mussolini were passionate. It isn't enough that one's heart is in the right place. Laws of cause and effect don't care if you are aware of them or how you feel. I'm glad that someone has the guts to harangue the President and the Democrats over their relentless fibbing, but I see very little practical difference between the men who reside in Washington these days, Ron Paul excepted. America likes to think it defeated fascism in the 20th century, but the truth is, the era has poisoned politics, possibly for all time. Very few of us can think outside the fascist paradigm; we think the state is naturally responsible for far too much, especially the obligation to "make things right." Too much of our identity is tied up in the state and its actions, and other institutions have been hollowed out. Our minds simply don't operate the way they once did, and our perspective has been permanently slanted. We can't very well hold our politicians' feet to the fire when our own minds are off in la-la land. What exactly will we hold them to? Squaring the circle properly? The fascist state is in our blood now, as liberty was once long ago. Is Joe Wilson, R-SC going to change any of that? I doubt it. When he decides to call for the FED to be abolished, to end fractional reserve banking, abolish the income tax and public schools, etc., I'll start taking him seriously. But by taking any of those political stances, he'd never hold elective office again. Unlike 99% of America, I don't want a politician who is passionate. I don't want a politician with vision or an agenda or goals. I don't want him to sponsor any initiatives. I don't want a politician who bases his decisions on the outcome he would like to obtain. He shouldn't like to obtain any outcome; he should uphold the law, defend the Constitution, stay out of my business, and let the chips fall where they may. The future of America should not be under the guidance or direction of any man or group of men, regardless of their elective status! It should be determined solely by the actions of free men, acting of their own accord, on their own behalf, subject to a just and disinterested law! That is the essence of a classical liberal social order, but it is anathema to modern America. To leave our fate open to chance is just too scary a proposition; there is no longer any faith in liberty. Sorry, Mackay, there really is no hope in national politics. It doesn't matter who wins the next election. We're circling the toilet bowl, and there is no turning back. The best we can hope for is a few more peaceable laps before the real nastiness begins. There is no salvation in politics. You are looking in the wrong place.


  1. Wow! I didn't expect such an eloquent response. My enthusiasm was likely misplaced as I have little knowledge of Wilson or his background. I think I match your leanings Scott, more than you realize. When this journey started I was introduced as a rabid republican. There are a few things that I have felt strongly about since my early days. One is my absolute inability to to find a mental justification for elective abortions. I also have a strong intolerance of those who prey on others, primarily directed at lawyers. A belief that those who prey on children (a mix of 1 and 2) have removed themselves from human civilization and thus deserve no protections offered to humans, and should be treated like the animals they are inline with a dog with a propensity to attack children. Finally, (at least for this rant) my inability to reconcile a two-party system with the principles this county was founded on. The last leads to the declaration of my political affiliation as "All politicians are corrupt". I guess what inspired me about Rep Wilson was the fire I saw in an individual to stand up against the machinery. So in conclusion your arguments are indisputable Scott, but a man can dream of a congress full of Wilsons all calling a spade a spade, recognizing the lack of clothes on the king (see and doing the right thing because it is the right thing to do. I can dream of a revolution can't I? Actually, no as I become labeled a domestic terrorist. So lets just leave it as I am still looking for change!

  2. All excellent points, and you are right that anytime a spade gets called a spade, it is indeed A Good Thing. I was wrong to not make that observation. I might have been a bit too harsh here, but I'm just trying to point out why, despite the smile such incidents as this bring to our faces, there really isn't any lasting hope until American culture itself turns around. And I'm afraid that the only possible way for that to happen is for America to experience a systemic failure as a result of its mistakes. Even then, I'm doubtful that the right lessons will be learned.

    I'm especially glad you have come over to the side of the "political heretic," for lack of a better term. This is my hope: that by putting our minds together and getting the story straight, when the roof finally does come caving in, people like you will have the understanding and an explanation ready at hand to counter the lies and clamor for violence, more government, etc., that will most certainly accompany the catastrophe.

    Maybe as a result, someday we will be on a firmer foundation for the reconstruction of the "city on the hill," and we really will have that room full of Joe Wilsons where no lie dare escape any would-be Emperor's lips.

  3. Wow Scott you need to get your talent out from under the bushel. If you recall when this journey started I asked what the solution is, or at least how to fend off the inevitable. Your comment that I don't fully recall centered on the problem being us. I agree that the enemy to meet is us, but how to conquer. Do we wait for Atlas to shrug, hiding in safety, waiting to reclaim. Or rather do we offer rock the boat, and collect the flotsam.

  4. Well thanks, I'm flattered, but I said "hope," not "know." My "hope" now is that the solution is exactly what we have been given in the words of the Bible: evangelism and obedient submission to God. The best answer I can see is that we've got to convert people to our side and our understanding of things, and extend Biblical dominion as well as we can through the methods given to us though the laws of the Bible. Am I sure that this is the whole answer? No. It sounds crazy to me, too; it is certainly daunting.

    I don't think "the system" needs much nudging to come tumbling down; I'm convinced that such is inevitable at this point. Perhaps it will be a persuasive episode, if there are enough of us around and we are vocal enough. The failures of an evil system are prime opportunity for evangelism.

    And as I've commented before, I'm still something of an ignorant amateur. I know few answers, and what I do understand is very narrow in scope, mostly limited to economics. Even at that, my knowledge is limited.

    Recommended reading in this regard: Inherit the Earth by Gary North, which you can get for free as a PDF and I have linked to many times on these pages. The essay "Isaiah's Job" by J. Albert Nock is also good perspective. I have linked to it before as well.

    I'm not particularly enlightened; I'm certainly no leader. You know me personally; I'm not particularly accomplished. You can read and ponder this stuff as well as I can.
    My talents in this regard are not particularly special.

    And last of all, remember: all is in God's hands, and always will be. Ultimately, that is all we need to know.