July 1st, 2014

Did the Founders foresee this?

Commenter “J.J.” wrote a comment that has much in it with which I agree. But I question this:

The Founders never envisioned that the citizens would elect a man with no ethics. A man who would not follow the law. At one time the media was well enough balanced between left and right to get the word out to people. Now it’s not. They never envisioned a situation where the balance of powers among the arms of government would be so ignored…The Founders could not have envisioned an electorate that was so ignorant of the process of government and their important role in it.

I agree that the Founders could not have envisioned the exact details of what’s happening now. But I think the Founders knew that something of the general sort was a distinct and perhaps even likely possibility. The Founders were not naive, and they were students of both history and human nature. They tried to design a government that protected liberty as best it could, knowing it might not succeed and that there would always be highly-motivated forces working against it.

Note the following quote from Madison’s Federalist Paper #10. I found it when I was researching a piece I wrote years ago for the Weekly Standard, and it made a deep impression on me. Here’s the Madison quote [emphasis mine]:

…[M]easures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority…By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community…

…Those who hold and those who are without property have ever formed distinct interests in society…It is in vain to say that enlightened statesmen will be able to adjust these clashing interests, and render them all subservient to the public good. Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm…

Men of factious tempers, of local prejudices, or of sinister designs, may, by intrigue, by corruption, or by other means, first obtain the suffrages, and then betray the interests, of the people

That, of course, is why the Founders originally limited voting to property holders. I think you’ll agree that the Founders foresaw, and tried to prevent, the very sort of things we are seeing now. That they did not succeed is through no fault of theirs; it is the fault of the left and of those on the right who failed to understand that teaching children our history and the principles of our founding was of the utmost importance, and that failure to do so could be fatal to the republic.

Another person who fully realized the danger was Ronald Reagan. I’ve posted this clip before, but it’s always deeply meaningful and almost unbearably poignant:

55 Responses to “Did the Founders foresee this?”

  1. Ymarsakar Says:

    I don’t think anyone that’s surprised at the Left and finds the Left’s operations hard to believe, should be able to extend that point of view to dead white males too well.

    The Founding Fathers did not find it hard to believe that a foreign potentate or Prince could be elected to power in the US.

    The Founding Fathers didn’t go around talking about “I can’t believe the British would do this to us, it’s hard to believe”. The rest of the nation was like that, sure, but not the 3%. The 3% are special, they see things that the rest of society doesn’t see.

  2. Oldflyer Says:

    Well said.

    It seems that the worst fears of the Founders have come to pass. They envisioned the dangers, and tried to design a system to mitigate them. But, like any system, it is only as effective as the people who control it. So much has been squandered because of ignorance, apathy, or greed.

    It is not easy to be sanguine about the future.

    At times like these, it is easy to envy the Parliamentary systems, because governments can be changed by votes of no confidence. Those who admire those systems look most often to the British. They tend to forget that these systems are also susceptible to instability and abuse; and the examples of such are legion.

  3. vanderleun Says:

    Patrick Henry saw it coming in 1788:

    =====
    If your American chief be a man of ambition and abilities, how easy is it for him to render himself absolute! The army is in his hands, and if he be a man of address, it will be attached to him, and it will be the subject of long meditation with him to seize the first auspicious moment to accomplish his design; and, sir, will the American spirit solely relieve you when this happens? I would rather infinitely — and I am sure most of this Convention are of the same opinion — have a king, lords, and commons, than a government so replete with such insupportable evils. If we make a king, we may prescribe the rules by which he shall rule his people, and interpose such checks as shall prevent him from infringing them; but the President, in the field, at the head of his army, can prescribe the terms on which he shall reign master, so far that it will puzzle any American ever to get his neck from under the galling yoke. I cannot with patience think of this idea. If ever he violates the laws, one of two things will happen: he will come at the head of his army, to carry every thing before him; or he will give bail, or do what Mr. Chief Justice will order him. If he be guilty, will not the recollection of his crimes teach him to make one bold push for the American throne? Will not the immense difference between being master of every thing, and being ignominiously tried and punished, powerfully excite him to make this bold push? But, sir, where is the existing force to punish him? Can he not, at the head of his army, beat down every opposition? Away with your President! we shall have a king: the army will salute him monarch: your militia will leave you, and assist in making him king, and fight against you: and what have you to oppose this force? What will then become of you and your rights ? Will not absolute despotism ensue?
    [Here Mr. HENRY strongly and pathetically expatiated on the probability of the President's enslaving America, and the horrid consequences that must result.]
    =====

    http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Henry's_speech_in_the_Virginia_Ratifying_Convention

  4. kit Says:

    Yes, they knew and Reagan knew.

    “Wait till they find they can vote themselves money and that will herald the end of the republic.”

    They were terribly afraid of some getting too much power and they warned us about tyranny

    Thank you for the Reagan clip, again. There is no fourth of July this year.

  5. Don Carlos Says:

    Stick a fork in us; we’re done.
    Some of us have known this for quite some time. There is absolutely no satisfaction in that knowledge. It’s kind of like diagnosing your own inoperable cancer.

  6. kaba Says:

    The Founders almost certainly knew that there would be scoundrels involved. What they perhaps failed to anticipate was a population that would not only tolerate but encourage the same. And they were probably hoping that a free press would hold those scoundrels to account rather than being complicit in their activities.

    John Adams had it right when he postulated that our Constitution was intended for a moral and religious people but was inadequate for any other.

  7. J.J. Says:

    Patrick Henry per vanderleun “If ever he violates the laws, one of two things will happen: he will come at the head of his army, to carry every thing before him; or he will give bail, or do what Mr. Chief Justice will order him. If he be guilty, will not the recollection of his crimes teach him to make one bold push for the American throne?”

    This President cannot come at the head of his army. The Joint Chiefs, political animals that they be, may salute his ambitions, but the LTCOLs, CDRs, and those below, all more numerous, will not. The troops do not care for this man. They will not follow his lead to put citizens under tyranny.

    I admit to not being a careful reader of the Federalist Papers. However, when I look at the remedies that were set in place by the Founders, I cannot but believe they expected there to be enough men of conscience and ethics in the government to be able to deal with a rogue President. The remedies are there. Contempt of Congress, rulings by the SCOTUS, and impeachment are all remedies. With the circumstances (Rogue Attorney General, Rogue Leader of the Senate, gutless RINOS, partisan dems, etc.) that prevail at this time, they are ineffectual. The remedy beyond that is public opinion and informed voters, which the Pravda press has blunted.

    I have no realistic answers as to how to remedy the situation. Civil War, which seems so devoutly desired by many on the conservative side, is an option, but not one I believe will bring about the desired change. Out of such chaos will come a “Strong Man.” Such a man might even be a wise ruler for a time, but………we all know about how power corrupts. Well, my main feeling now is one of shame. Shame that my children and those who follow are going to have it much worse than I did.

  8. Kae Arby Says:

    That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness

    – Declaration of Independence

    “I do not know whether it is to yourself or Mr. Adams I am to give my thanks for the copy of the new constitution. I beg leave through you to place them where due. It will be yet three weeks before I shall receive them from America. There are very good articles in it: and very bad. I do not know which preponderate. What we have lately read in the history of Holland, in the chapter on the Stadtholder, would have sufficed to set me against a Chief magistrate eligible for a long duration, if I had ever been disposed towards one: and what we have always read of the elections of Polish kings should have forever excluded the idea of one continuable for life. Wonderful is the effect of impudent and persevering lying. The British ministry have so long hired their gazetteers to repeat and model into every form lies about our being in anarchy, that the world has at length believed them, the English nation has believed them, the ministers themselves have come to believe them, and what is more wonderful, we have believed them ourselves. Yet where does this anarchy exist? Where did it ever exist, except in the single instance of Massachusets? And can history produce an instance of a rebellion so honourably conducted? I say nothing of it’s motives. They were founded in ignorance, not wickedness. God forbid we should ever be 20. years without such a rebellion. The people can not be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. We have had 13. states independant 11. years. There has been one rebellion. That comes to one rebellion in a century and a half for each state. What country ever existed a century and a half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve it’s liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure. Our Convention has been too much impressed by the insurrection of Massachusets: and in the spur of the moment they are setting up a kite to keep the hen yard in order. I hope in god this article will be rectified before the new constitution is accepted.”

    – Thomas Jefferson to William Stephens Smith, Paris, 13 Nov. 1787

    Our founders left us one last check in the case that tyranny came to the nation. We the people reserve the right of rebellion and, if need be, revolution. The question is have we reached a point where we need to, as Richard Fernadez is fond of saying, think the unthinkable?

    KRB

  9. Eric Says:

    JJ: “I have no realistic answers as to how to remedy the situation.”

    Marxist-method activist social movement or wave of synchronous compatible movements.

    http://doingdemocracy.com/

    The Left can be beat at the activist game. The Right just needs to start playing the game seriously and fully.

  10. Eric Says:

    JJ: “Civil War, which seems so devoutly desired by many on the conservative side, is an option, but not one I believe will bring about the desired change.”

    I mostly see that as an unrealistic fantasy stated by people unwilling to do the activist heavy lifting that realistically could and would make a social cultural/political difference. The ‘Civil War’ fantasy is a replacement for taking on the selfless sacrifice, risk, and grind of doing actual work in the actual arena.

  11. Eric Says:

    Of course the Founders understood human social nature. They were Marxist-method activists before Marx was born. Preserving or re-establishing the nation they founded requires activists like the Founders were, willing and capable of war as politics by other means and politics as war by other means.

    In the practical, activist sense, the Left is better in tune with the Founders than the Right.

  12. ConceptJunkie Says:

    JJ: “Civil War, which seems so devoutly desired by many on the conservative side, is an option, but not one I believe will bring about the desired change.”

    No sane person and no person with two working brain cells sees this as a desired outcome. It is, in fact, the worst possible outcome except for totalitarianism.

  13. Jim Moser Says:

    I don’t think the founders foresaw the development of our 4th branch of government–the federal bureaucracy. Had they, I expect they would have developed checks and balances.

    It is true that these fall under the executive and, in that sense, checks and balances are in place albeit less than adequate.

  14. nkbay99 Says:

    Jim Moser hit the nail on the head.

    However, there is an easy solution. Any set of regulations that have a fiscal impact of more than $ 1 Billion must be approved by a majority of both houses of Congress prior to implementation. The biggest problem is that the laws are implemented through regulations developed by a faceless band of unelected bureaucrats

  15. Paul in Boston Says:

    The Founders certainly forsaw this, that is why there is a second amendment. It’s meant only to be used in extremis. Hamilton somewhere in the Federalist discusses its invocation against an “oppresive government”.

  16. Cornhead Says:

    Well certainly the Founders foresaw someone like Obama and they left us a remedy: Impeachment.

    But after reading House Manager Jim Rogan’s book about the spineless Senate, it ain’t going to happen.

    Andy McCarthy is dead right that there can be no impeachment unless there was a strong popular will for it. I would love to see a million people in DC in a Rally for Impeachment.

    But there needs to be a catalyst and it needs to be big. This death by a thousand cuts is not enough.

    And, of course, Obama is protected by his race. If a white Democrat had the same problems his approval rate would be 20% and he would be halfway out the door.

  17. J.J. Says:

    ConceptJunkie: “No sane person and no person with two working brain cells sees this as a desired outcome.”

    I agree. Have you been reading the right wing blogosphere? I have. I see many, even commenters on this blog, who are looking for the time when things will be settled with violence. Some are convinced it is the only answer and seem to relish the idea. As Eric says, it is the easy way out. Most will not engage in grass roots activism. Most won’t even write or call their Congress Critters. I urge people to communicate with their representatives. But mostly people say I’m naïve. Yet, if you were in Congress, and you never had any communication from voters back home, wouldn’t you think everything was just ducky? I’m only one person, but I have a group of over 100 like minded people on my e-mail list. We are actively communicating. We write letters to editors, to Congress, to the President, and we talk to neighbors and friends. I’m a TEA Party member. I work during campaigns and always vote. It seems like shoveling sh*t against the tide, but if we don’t try, nothing will change.

    Eric wants me to be a Marxist-method activist. People best situated to be activists are those who can command an audience – teachers, politicians, media people, Hollywood stars, etc. I have no audience but I will support those who do. Tomorrow I’m taking five people to see Dinesh D’Souza’s new movie, “America.” D’Souza is trying to make a difference. I hope his movie may be seen by enough LIVs to make them think a bit about what is going on. I do what I can do.

    I read the blogosphere for ideas, education, and a psychological lift somewhat like group therapy. But I have no illusions about what happens here having a huge effect in the world. I wish it did.

  18. Oldflyer Says:

    But, Jim Moser and NKBAY99, the seemingly unfettered power of the Bureaucracy is symptomatic of Congressional failure. The checks and balances are adequate, the human implementation is abysmal.

    Congress, for various reasons, writes legislation in a careless and haphazard fashion, often unaware of what they are passing, as in the ACA. Then they give the Bureaucracy free rein to formulate massive implementing regulations. Thus we are, indeed, ruled by a nameless and largely unaccountable Bureaucratic Monster. After the fact, Congress might express surprise and dismay at the unintended consequences; but, there is seldom any redress. The power of the purse which the Bureaucracy should fear, is meaningless if it is never exercised.

    I maintain that the tools of good governance are at hand, but are rusting away from neglect.

  19. physicsguy Says:

    JJ said “Most won’t even write or call their Congress Critters. I urge people to communicate with their representatives. But mostly people say I’m naïve.”

    I said it before on another thread awhile back, maybe even to J.J. I gave up even communicating with my representatives. I’m in Connecticut, all of them (the reps) are deep blue democrats. It’s a total waste of my time and of bandwidth to even send them an email. My vote makes no difference to them.

    Today I got a flyer from our local state rep. She’s going on and on about the problem of water conservation for the state. This is a place that averages 50″ per year. As a native Coloradoan which averages 15″ per year, I thought she is totally nuts. Meanwhile our gas tax is around 50 cents per gallon larger than even Mass., we are bleeding jobs, taxes keep climbing, and a recent poll show 50% of the population of the state are trying to get out. Yeah, writing her will make a big difference.

  20. Matt_SE Says:

    Two interesting takeaways from Kae Arby’s Jefferson quote:

    “Wonderful is the effect of impudent and persevering lying. The British ministry have so long hired their gazetteers to repeat and model into every form lies about our being in anarchy, that the world has at length believed them, the English nation has believed them, the ministers themselves have come to believe them, and what is more wonderful, we have believed them ourselves.”

    - The founders were no strangers to the idea that a press could become the instrument of state lies. They could’ve had no illusions that American “gazetteers” were somehow special and immune from these forces.

    “The people can not be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty.”

    - The founders assumed that either the people would be lied to periodically, or that they would misunderstand the facts. The bigger the lie/misunderstanding, the more angry the people would be. It was viewed as a troubling sign if they didn’t get angry, because this was a sign of passivity.
    This last point more accurately describes what we have today: a bunch of sheep, looking around for someone to take the first step…though, I think it’s finally starting to change.

  21. Ymarsakar Says:

    Patrick Henry saw it coming in 1788:

    He didn’t see jack coming. Completely different planet.

  22. Mike Says:

    The fault is not Obama. He’s a Circus Clown relatively speaking.

    The problem is the over 60m “Americans” who voted for him and who continue to support him. That’s 52%.

    Did the Founders envision that 52%? I think they did. And I think they said the 52% could be the end of America.

    They are probably right.

    One thing is for sure. All the energy, innovation, and fight is on their side. Evil people often have tremendous energy. It’s like their evil is manic.

    Whatever. We are either going to fight, or be defeated, or surrender. So far we haven’t even tried the first thing.

  23. MarkJ Says:

    “Stick a fork in us; we’re done.”

    Stick a fork in yourself, Don Carlos. As for me, I’m sticking to the Union and Constitution.

    Y’know all that “these are the times that try men’s souls” stuff.

  24. Ymarsakar Says:

    And they were probably hoping that a free press would hold those scoundrels to account rather than being complicit in their activities.

    A press isn’t a bunch of privileged aristocrats you consider the media class. Different concept back then. A press was the power to publish.

  25. MarkJ Says:

    “One thing is for sure. All the energy, innovation, and fight is on their side. Evil people often have tremendous energy. It’s like their evil is manic.”

    To which I say, so what? In 1941, Hitler was master of Europe. By 1945 he was just another charred corpse. Ditto for Mussolini–as I recall he ended his days swinging by his heels. Stalin lasted a bit longer, but death came for him too.

  26. Ymarsakar Says:

    Some are convinced it is the only answer and seem to relish the idea. As Eric says, it is the easy way out. Most will not engage in grass roots activism.

    JJ and Eric are thinking with optimism and hope, expecting the best and preparing for the best.

    Because they cannot handle the worst, they do not expect the worst, so they cannot and will not prepare for the worst. It is the same as willful blindness. Don’t need to learn to swim. Why? Because drowning will never happen to me. That’s how such thinking goes. They think learning to swim is somehow wanting to drown.

    They don’t realize that civil war is inevitable and they don’t realize that drowning is inevitable, if they didn’t prepare for it. By not preparing for it, it becomes inevitable.

    Unless they have a planetary political WMD that breaks the back of the Left, which they don’t.

    As for being naive, do you have proof JJ, that everything is as you claim it is, that they are reading and responding to your letters? We got plenty of proof on our side that the Left is at war on humanity and Americans, slaughtering them by the dozens and thousands. Where’s your proof, JJ? Don’t got any? The signature on that letter, is that auto script written or hand written authentic? Is it authentic because the press secretary handed it to the rep to sign after typing out the contents for you?

  27. Matt_SE Says:

    I’m with MarkJ on this one.

    Take your meds, Ymarsakar.

  28. waitforit Says:

    We could throw poop. It works for the monkeys against the humans.

    To be or not to be an activist. That is the, whoa hey wait, not cool monkey. Not cool.

  29. Matt_SE Says:

    I want to throw my poop at monkeys.

    Turnabout is fair play, monkey. Take THAT! *plop*

  30. waitforit Says:

    The piece of resistance, a la carte.

    Carry your deliveries carefully, dear, don’t make them available to just anyone. I know that they are free but they should only go to the most deserving, you see. What you carry is the piece of resistance, a la carte, according to the menu, the substance of your good against their evil. You won’t know those to whom you deliver, your legatees, but your devise will supply because always the next generation wants an alternative. So carry that piece of resistance with confidence, walk with swag and power. Make all those who examine you ask the question, “Who do I wish to be, her, or myself?”

  31. waitforit Says:

    Right, good. I throw my “yawp” against the world. Makes me feel good and Lord knows I have and probably will often continue to do so.

    But the point is that the monkey is not free.

    Presumably, decorum and discipline make us so.

  32. J.J. Says:

    Communication with Congress critters takes several forms. Snail mail used to be impressive to them, because it takes time and trouble to sit down and compose a letter, sign it, and mail it. That’s out the window now. Since 9/11 it takes two to three months for a letter to get to a Congress person because of security. I wrote a book back in 2002 and sent a copy to both “W” and Dick Cheney. Five months later I got nice thank you notes from Laura Bush and Dick. They apologized that it took three months for the book to actually reach their desks.

    Now it’s e-mail and telephone. They always ask if you want a reply. When you say no, but they reply anyway, you know that something’s up. It’s an issue that’s in their sights. There are also townhall meetings with your Congressional Reps. I go when they are anywhere nearby. And I have a list of questions ready to go. Don’t ever get to ask more than one, but I’m always ready. My Rep and both Senators have offices 45 minutes south of me. You can go there and deliver messages in person and by letter. The Critters are seldom there, but their staffs do keep a record of what your issues are.

    Physics guy. My Congress Critters in Washington State are progressive with a capital P. But I keep at them. As I said, you can tell when an issue is hot. They either answer when you didn’t request an answer or they answer in a day or two. Normal answers to correspondence come in three weeks. All the progs are talking about water conservation. We are deluged with water here in Washington State, but you would think we were about to have massive shortages. It’s all part of their plan to use Agenda 21 to control everyone. You should push back on the brochure. Ask her to explain exactly where the water shortages are occurring and what you can do to help. She will not be able to provide any facts that make sense. When she does send you something, fisk it as nicely as possible. Keep pushing her. They need to know there are people out there who don’t accept their version of things.

    I recently sent an e-mail to Senators Murray and Cantwell telling them that I didn’t think they were going far enough in harassing the Washington Redskins. I suggested they should also harass the Cleveland Browns, the Minnesota Vikings, etc. It was meant to be sarcastic. I’ll be doggoned if I didn’t get an e-mail from Cantwell, thanking me for my suggestion in this important area of human relations. :-(

    You have to realize it isn’t one voice that makes a difference, but when enough people take the trouble to tell them what they think, it has an effect on them. I have a friend that was a Congressional staffer back in the day. According to him they do keep track of what their constituents are saying. The truth of it is, though, that most of the people who contact them want something – help with the IRS, the VA, a visit to Congress, a bill to help some business or cause, etc. They’re all too happy to do that sort of thing. It’s their bread and butter. They need to hear from those who don’t agree with them.

  33. Kae Arby Says:

    While reading the dialog about how some conservatives are eager for a civil war because they’re too lazy to work within the system (contacting their representatives and stuff like that) and I notice a glaring omission. This is exactly what the TEA party has been doing since 2010. They held rallies, lobbied congressmen, supported candidates sympathetic to their cause and even ran their own candidates. The problem here is not lack of participation but the very real possibility that the system has been compromised.

    KRB

  34. Matt_SE Says:

    Semi-thread-jack (MS was mentioned):

    http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2014/07/confirmed-former-gop-gov-haley-barbour-was-behind-racist-anti-tea-party-pro-cochran-ads-in-mississippi-video/

    Barbour’s PAC paid for at least one of the racist radio ads and racist robocalls.

  35. waitforit Says:

    Love ya, JJ.

    I am empowered to call.

  36. waitforit Says:

    A booK?

    Pray tell where I may obtain copy.

  37. waitforit Says:

    Eternal repose is better than mortal remains

    The traps are for lesser men.
    Saying, praying, great is God,
    But when against horror, then
    They turn and make him wrong.

    Have I predestination?
    Have I the combination?
    I claim not to unlock time
    Leave the mystery to unwind.

    Still searching for salvation?
    Messiah or your nation?
    To play the game is to lose!
    Stand above the years unmoved!

  38. waitforit Says:

    Can we lighten up the mood so we can puke on the speakers?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2_8PJHTRR4

  39. J.J. Says:

    waitforit, the book had a meteoric run of 1000 or so. It’s out of print now. You would be underwhelmed, if it was available.

    KRB, the TEA Party is bloodied, but we haven’t given up. When they cancel the elections or cover my coffin with dirt then I’ll call it a day. Still breathing, I’m still writing, going to meetings, working phone banks, putting up signs, trying to win people to my views, and voting. I will never, ever, not vote.

    Good things are happening. The Supreme Court has not completely rolled over. The Billings Gazette has written an editorial detailing why it regrets endorsing Obama. Read about that here:
    http://washingtonexaminer.com/that-bad-huh-newspaper-so-disappointed-in-obama-it-apologizes-for-2008-endorsement/article/2550355
    It’s a start!

    The number of conservative letters to the editor is increasing in my local paper and the Seattle Times. People are pushing back on Climate Change, on guns, on Obamacare, on the lack of jobs, on the crazy quilt of foreign policies, on the Bergdahl affair, the border invasion, etc. We are not defeated. Not as long as we keep working.

  40. EssEm Says:

    What the Founders never imagined was universal suffrage for any moron 18 years of age. This was what they called “democracy” and they were agin’ it as a form of mob rule by ballot box, leading both to despotism and bankruptcy.

    And they most certainly did not imagine that women and the Third World would constitute vast swaths (or any swatch) of the electorate.

  41. waitforit Says:

    How very extraordinary our writing instructions for the basic paragraph used to be. They represented law based on evidence, experience and logic. The structure of the paragraph was the structure of Western civilization.

    The structure is simple and capable of endless variation. Begin with your idea and state it coherently. Provide examples, illustrations, metaphors and evidence for your idea. Then conclude.

    The first requirement is a topic sentence, an idea. Define and signal the subject. This first requirement recognizes the reader. It puts the reader above the writer and requires of the writer analysis and organization

    Respect for the reader has disappeared today. A journalistic article is a series of sentences designed to ease the reader into a stream of thought that substitutes emotion for analysis and code words for intellectual vigor. The student of today writes from what he wants to read. This subverts everything. He no longer needs clarity, provided by idea and structure, because he already knows his idea. He does not care if you do. Such vomiting is not writing: it is sharing and requires your support and praise. Today, the writer demands acclaim and recognition no matter how his material fails to convey or convince. It is a matter of self-esteem and God help you if you make the unaccomplished and poor writer a victim.

  42. Beverly Says:

    JJ and Mark have the right idea.

    We are being Gullivered to death; but don’t worry — if you don’t wiggle, you won’t feel the thousand threads.

    That, actually, is my chief worry. Most folks just keep their heads down and hope to escape notice by entities such as the Infernal Revenue Service. As long as they personally aren’t being taken away to the gulag in the middle of the night, they’ll focus on their own lives. And of course, the Fourth Estate has put out the eyes of the body politic.

    I wonder how things will break, or whether we will gradually get accustomed to the thousand threads? This has happened to a great extent already: in New York, you can no longer go on the roof (“Tar Beach”) in most buildings; can’t smoke in the park, and they’re talking about outlawing smoking In Your [sic] Apartment!; zillions of regs about every blasted thing.

    But even in South Carolina, the Regulators are taking over every nook and cranny. You can’t go fishing, solo, with one rod, without paying the protection money to the State for a “fishing license.” They don’t let children walk on the dunes any more. We used to, and guess what? the dunes were FINE, even in Myrtle freakin’ Beach. Etc., etc., etc. . . .

    But as long as you want to do things the way They want you to, you won’t feel those threads.

  43. PD Quig Says:

    “There is no 4th of July this year.”

    Agreed. I threw away my American flag the day Obama was elected in 2008. I had read Stanley Kurtz’s book, “The Case Against Barack Obama” as well as Obama’s books themselves.

    Foreseeing what was to come was not a matter of clairvoyance. It was a matter of not being willfully blind and morally vain. On that day I lost faith in the common sense of my countrymen. That feeling was reaffirmed in November 2012. There are now two classes of Americans as far as I am concerned: 1) those who ARE and 2) those who are no longer our countrymen (TWANLOC).

    The TWANLOC must be stopped. In doing so, no methods can be forsworn.

  44. RickZ Says:

    As to the ‘civil war’ some decry and some desire, I think many have it wrong. It won’t be a great revolt all at once, but in drips and drabs in reacting to the continued layers of government overreach/control/tyranny. Then it will explode as these things usually do.

    Right now, the health care ‘crisis’ of the illegals swarming our border could very well be a trigger. Imagine if some massive deadly outbreak occurred because of Obama’s deliberate malfeasance. Imagine the children of citizens dying without the government doing a damn thing about it, nor reporters reporting on it (as they ignore now the high unemployment rate, the low GDP, IRS targeting of conservative groups, F&F, et.al.). Imagine the citizenry taking out the illegals because the government will not deport them.

    Or imagine a massive multi-location ‘terror’ attack let loose upon this Nation thanks to unsecured borders.

    Or imagine a catastrophic and fast-paced financial collapse, one where the Government cannot feed the EBT cards while deciding 401(k)s and bank accounts belong to the Government.

    Or imagine all three, or more, at once. In other words, imagine the Alinskying of this Country by Obama and the progressives being so successful that this country shatters into little shards, pockets of communists here, freedom loving patriots there. Imagine the gangs, with their weapons, wreaking havoc in the urban areas, with the rural areas banning together to keep said urban thugs out.

    We have been so immune to real crises for so long that we forget how quickly things can fall apart. After the October ’29 crash, things were bad, people were desperate. Yet you read of very little violence occurring (except for the gangster bank robbers) because everyone thought ‘we were all in it together’, that is, we were a fairly homogenous society, an assimilated melting pot. That 1929 reality is no more. We are a deliberately fractured society and I really don’t think we can put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

    Obama is putting pressure on every aspect of our society, deliberately and maliciously pitting one of us against the other. Our Nation, and the people in it, can only suffer under such pressure for a short while before blowing a gasket, and the steam pressure is constantly building now. Add in those things I described above, and the Nation cannot endure without something giving. Of course this is what Obama wants, but even his hubris cannot control such events once they are underway. Just think of what would happen today were a flu pandemic, as in 1918-1920, to strike this already tense society. Feces hitting the mechanical rotating device doesn’t begin to cover what will happen. It will be catastrophic for our Nation, its form of government and its People.

    To paraphrase an old saying: You may not be interested in civil war, but civil war is interested in you. That means the choice may not really be ours to make, that events will cascade out of control once one brick in our civilized society gets dislodged.
    —–

    Cornhead Says:

    Andy McCarthy is dead right that there can be no impeachment unless there was a strong popular will for it. I would love to see a million people in DC in a Rally for Impeachment.

    There were almost 2 million people who marched on DC in Sept. ’09 to protest 404Care. Fat lot of good that did.

    No, to have any effect on our modern political mandarins and their unaccountable criminal bureaucracy, it would take upwards of 10 million people to have any chance for an effect (10M is still only 3% of the population). On top of that, many government buildings would have to be #occupied, shutting down the government for as long as possible. Plus, the threat of violence. Sad/bad/scary as it is to say this, I honestly believe violence against their persons is the only thing our corrupt modern mandarins and their weaponized bureaucracy will understand. Neither group care one whit for the will of the People. All one has to do is look at the smug faces of the IRS thugs testilying in front of Congressional committees to understand this.
    —–

    J.J. Says:

    I agree. Have you been reading the right wing blogosphere? I have. I see many, even commenters on this blog, who are looking for the time when things will be settled with violence. Some are convinced it is the only answer and seem to relish the idea.

    {Raises hand}

    Relish? No. But even a passing knowledge of real History teaches us a society cannot survive traitors from within, and Obama is, at best, a progressive traitor from within. Even some in ancient Rome understood this.

    A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague. ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero

    —–

    J.J. Says:

    Most won’t even write or call their Congress Critters. I urge people to communicate with their representatives. But mostly people say I’m naïve. Yet, if you were in Congress, and you never had any communication from voters back home, wouldn’t you think everything was just ducky?

    My two senators are Schumer and Gillebrand. I have written them often within the last couple of years. Do you hear them moderating their anti-Liberty rhetoric one iota? No, they double down demanding more government control. Do you really think they care what this ‘one of the little people’ thinks? They do not. And that is the crux of the problem. I suffer taxation without representation, just as in the early to middle 1770s.

    Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

  45. Ymarsakar Says:

    Matt_SE, what the hell do you know about meds, boyo?

    You’re a johnny come late here, yet think you’re above it all. Things aren’t not as easy to predict as you want it to be. The Left, if nothing else, will beat your head silly and do the convincing. Then you’ll be the one begging for meds from DC here.

    “I want to throw my poop at monkeys.”

    Not only are you arrogant in your medical opinion, you seem to think you have DC’s authority here to proscribe medication. But since it’s the internet, what makes you think anyone is going to listen to you, Matt boy? Or do you actually think your poop will reach them across your powerless internet.

    ” You may not be interested in civil war, but civil war is interested in you. That means the choice may not really be ours to make,”

    A lot of people in the US think war is about picking ice cream flavors. For their entire life, war has been something they chose to do to foreigners that couldn’t touch them, generally. An elective war. Not often has the US seen a war to the knife, on its own soil.

    Political marches only existed because the elite of Congress were funding and setting up such fake grassroots movements, as a pretext for manipulating PR. When a real grassroots movement happens, and there is no Congressional allegiance, then it doesn’t work like that. It’s why so many Democrats were convinced the Tea Party were a bunch of astroturfed racists. That’s how they ran anti war protests back in the day, 99% of them at least, force paid busing of students, teachers, homeless to X.

  46. Jim Moser Says:

    Update on my earlier bureaucracy comment.

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2014/07/is-administrative-law-unlawful-a-word-from-the-author.php

  47. johnt Says:

    The men of the 18th century were of a far different breed, very well read of the classics, aware of the past and their role in evolving time and circumstance. Humane and civilized. Compare to today, consider the garbage in the WH, a degenerate media clamoring for more government,, the borders in shreds, the economy in the hands of civil servants and regulation, and worse, an educational system structured to turn out mass ignorance. Not much hope there. We are left to find our own peace, and hard as it may be in the era of Obama, our own privacy.

  48. Don Carlos Says:

    This is a fascinating set of posts.

    I am with Ymarsakar on this.

    As the historically disgusting saying goes, “You Don’t Have to be a Weatherman to Know which way the Wind Blows”, and here we are in a gathering storm.

    Those of us who talk of a civil war do not desire it, and it is an insult to so suggest. We see no other out, no alternative. J.J.’s writing campaign is a waste of time, but maybe he has such time; my Rep. is working hard for us, and others in the Congress don’t want to hear from me (I’ve tried). Our Tea Party worked hard, very hard, but never drew any young people, without whom no movement can succeed.

    We do not have the luxury of time to deal with the Washington totalitarian encroachment peacefully and incrementally. We never, ever regain all the territory lost to the enemy in the political struggle started by the Progressives one hundred years ago. One hundred years!

    Just watch: If GOP retakes the Senate, will Political Correctness disappear? Will Holder, Koskinen and the rest of the Uber Dems continue to prosper and spread poison, or not?

    When the termites have so infested the structure that repair is impossible, there is only one thing left: Call in the bulldozer and the poison, and rebuild.

  49. Ymarsakar Says:

    To clarify something before. As with the birth certificate group calling out Hussein’s short form forged BCert, I never described their cause as useless or wasted resources.

    If a person’s own resources are decided using free will on that or developing a communication with Congress critters, that is the person’s own decision because that’s their own resources. That does not violate free will.

    However, on the strategic level, it’s a different issue. On the strategic level, nobody owns the battle space, so they can have their rights and their opinions, but their own facts. If their efforts do not produce a battlefield victory, then they cannot claim that their use of resources has been vindicated and that everybody else is either wrong or trying to waste resources on a civil war. If they don’t recognize and respect free will, nor will their own status be respected. The Left has their own resources that they will use to make war. If people here think they own resources and will do X with Congress B, which nobody can or should stop, then the same is true of us and the same is true of the Left.

    At the strategic level, only force and victory determines the winner. Since the winner isn’t pre determined, not even for a civil war, the question is who is in the lead. Is the Leftist alliance in the lead? Is Congress and their constituents in the lead? Is the Tea Party in their lead? Is the survivalists and bunker right wing crazies in the lead?

    That’s not something that should be decided pre battle, by human arrogance.

    The ones that will cause civil war are two types of factions in the US.

    1. the leading faction with the greatest war resources and the greatest territorial control in the battle space

    2. the opposing faction that doesn’t take war seriously and convinces the leading faction that nobody is going to take up arms, so the leading faction might as well take what’s left.

    This was true in Civil War I US, when the South were convinced by their thug slavery is good honor system that the Northern LIncolns and Republican abolitionists were weaklings that would never win the field against the Southern aristocracy and Southern honor.

    This was true in WWII, when the West appeased Germany, and then later in the Cold War when the West appeased Stalin.

    These are the types that think in certain ways. That having a gun means you’re inviting people to burglarize your home and attack you. It’s an instigation, it’s you causing the fight. It’s a provocation that leads to the fight. They think people don’t need guns. THey think people don’t need to learn how to swim. Because honestly they don’t want to think about scary stuff like getting shot or drowned. They don’t want to think about that stuff, and certainly not prepare against it.

    So obviously, if they don’t prepare against it, what’s stopping the LEft from doing it?

  50. Wednesday afternoon round-up and Open Thread Says:

    […] wisdom, by incredible wisdom, and for incredible wisdom. Madison readily envisioned that the government would be able to function despite man’s worst nature. However, even the Founders’ checks and balances didn’t comprehend a president and his […]

  51. J.J. Says:

    Well, I’ve been taken to the woodshed and my ideas have been found wanting. Very well, I will no longer suggest that anyone except me communicate with their Congress Critters.

    I understand the frustration and helplessness felt by so many here. I’ve been there. Been on the losing team, had friends killed in war, seen injustice in the courthouse, felt the government’s hand go ever deeper in my pocket, raged against a faceless environmentalist who got an injunction to stop my irrigation water, had my pension hijacked by a bankruptcy court, and more. I could go off in a corner and give up because life just isn’t fair. That’s not my style. I’ll keep doing what I can as long as I’m upright.

    Those who are expecting violence may be right. I’m ready to cross that bridge when we reach it. But not before.

    Now excuse me while I send some e-mails to my Congress Critters. :-)

  52. Orson Says:

    Inspired here as much as I remain in the declinist, pessimist camp, I just attempted to post a brief two paragraph review of A. J. Languth’s “Patriots” at Amazon dott com.

    I never mentioned Obama, but I did directly recommend re-reading it to be inspired and infired, because these men and women risked life and limb to dethrone a Monarch 238 years ago!

    And therefore it can be done again to depose an elected Monarch, which con law profs have called him, and His Henchmen!

    I then concluded by quoting a few apposite lines from the Declaration:
    “He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
    “He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
    “He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation…” [etc]

    Then pushed “submit” for my 5-Star review, commending the re-reading of it.

    The response, given the advanced age of previous review ought to have forewarned me, but it will appear after it passes their censors-type notice came up.

    Meaning that Amazon is censoring rebellious, outraged reviews of the kind that inspires American rebellion. Which means that Amazon is an agent of Dear Leader’s Praetorian Guards.

    Just so you know.

  53. Orson Says:

    CORRECTION. It did post at Amazon. (A friend noted they are only censoring profanity.)

    See is as the first review of this 25-year old swaggering classic since winter-time – heralding its praise is over due and timely.

    SEE ***** “proud and God Damn ANGRY at the worst ruling class these United States have ever had to …” at Amazon.

  54. Bellarion The Fortunate Says:

    It’s true that the Framers didn’t expect enlightened statesmen to always be at the helm. And yet…I’ve come to think of a constitution as being like the operating system of a computer. It’s complex, and no matter how carefully it was written, exploits and vulnerabilities will be found when it’s subjected to determined open source or crowd sourced attack.

    Hopefully you have good antivirus on your computer. Hopefully you aren’t surfing porn sites. And hopefully you’ve got your computer set to get automatic security updates, so that when exploits are found, you won’t be vulnerable for very long. Buts a constitution is harder to update that Windows. And the search for zero day exploits that will allow the ill intentioned to take control of you constitution is just as intensive, just as relentless, and just as clever as the search for zero day exploits that will allow a hacker to turn your computer into part of a botnet, or lock it up and demand payment to unlock it, or make it spit out ads for internet porn.

    We have known that flaws in our system of government, and it’s hard to fix them, because, well, it takes an awfully large majority and a lot of time, and there are people who benefit from the ZEDs. For example, there’s really no good way to recount a Presidential election, and Presidential elections are handled by the states, so the machinery is a little bit vulnerable. Also, there’s no really good way to remove the president for cause without in the process tying the government in knots for an extended period of time. In a parliamentary system, you can have a vote of no confidence, and the prime minister is replaced. (Note: parliamentary systems have hacks too, and Tony Blair definitely found and used the ZEDs in the British system of government).

    My fear is that hackers have found exploits in our system of government that we can’t easily patch. It might be easier to restrain Obama if we had a competent and effective opposition leadership in the House, but I’m afraid that the operating system of our Republic has been hacked, and that we simply no longer have control of it. And I don’t know how to wipe the hard drive and reinstall everything.

  55. Orson Says:

    I have to disagree with Neo-Neocon’s disquisition on faction – The Federalist Papers, No. 10 – for explaining our times. Obama is but the necessary expressive symptom of a more general decline in American culture that the Founders foresaw.

    Instead, I think the problem is declining virtue (ie, character). they warned and foresaw that only people of good character could keep a Republic going. Both Franklin and Adams said this clearly. And the root of where we’ve failed is in sustaining the virtue of honesty.

    Once the liberal (ie, libertarian-liberal) media became a Pretorian Guard, along with the education-scientific complex, and the entertainment complex, denigrating all honesty, then neither right reason nor enlightenment can prevail against emotionalism and the ‘magical ‘thinking’ of the mob, the low information voters, and the hysterical fascist power-lusting Left.

    Last November, Anglo Codevilla wrote about this in “Lies Corrupt Democracy.” http://www.libertylawsite.org/2013/11/10/lies-corrupt-democracy/

    Poreffor Codevilla reviews the honest accountability that it took Republicans to impeach Nixon, and the hits against honesty that took place during the Clinton impeachment resulting in the Big Lie (“It was all about S-E-X!” Ken Starris a religious wingnut who hates it!), and now the sundry indifference to Obama’s pervasive calumnies, smears, and unconstitutional, traitorous, terpitude.

    Decades ago, it all took seriousness, honesty, and courage – and who shows that now? Who won’t be ridiculed by our sitting President? Who is The Man For All Seasons?

    And this evokes drsanity’s occasional citation of postmodernist epistemology in undercutting the reality testing that once fitfully moored the Left.

    And lastly, consider Hugh Hewitt’s interview with Dr. Victor Davis Hansen on the former’s syndicated talk show Wednesday (The interview notes or even podcast may be posted online here soon, today http://www.hughhewitt.com/): VDH states that we are living in revolutionary times much like 19th century France (alluding to the revolutions of 1848, I believe), and that by Obama’s conduct we can be sure that this chaos and decline is what he really wants – he’s pleased to see us afflicted.

    (Cue the Dinesh D’souza “America” movie trailer.)

    Again, both VDH and the host Hugh Hewitt agree that Obama was and is a pro-ruption marking our decline – an indicator, not a unique messenger. Only the ongoing corruption of all the other sources of cultural leadership – the sources of ruling class authority through politics, education, and mass media, that directs us towards decline – make Him possible. (For evidence, see Metacritic reviews roundly dismiss “America” like Obama would, here http://www.metacritic.com/movie/america/critic-reviews)

    Which is why we – or at least, me – are pessimists. What could change my pessimism? Reversing virtually ALL Obama programs, for one; making, like Scott Walker in Wisconsin, all federal labor unions illegal – because Lenin understood them to be the incubators spreading Marxist-international revolution.

    Next, there would need to be a mass move into charter schools and home schooling to really educate the young. With the subsequent closing down of the educrat “schools of education,” then mass indoctrination of youth could be prevented.
    At least for a growing, intellectually active and accomplished cadre of millions of young. And then, abolishing the federal Department of Education, leading to cutting all federal-university ties to university level education.

    And finally, the most important indicator: ten or so years ago, only about one-third of those under 30 disbelieved American Exceptionalism. Now it is about half. As D’souza explains, this poisoning of American self-confidence explains the traitorous self-immolation we see Dear Leader cheerleading a great nation into decline.

    the young have now coherent world-view. To be more precise, opinion polls of those under 30 shoe a distrust of government, yet what they want requires MORE powerful exercise of government. For example, they don’t believe in the promise of social security, but gay marriage and extending state coverage of contraceptive and abortion payments from the state to everyone is just dandy!

    Who is the Reagan who’ll inflict a reality lesson on this important constituency and says “TANSTAFFL!” you idiots – wake up and carpe diem your freedom!

    A worldview of coherence requires honesty and confronting the Truth – and that the ruling class will not permit to be delivered or understood for all its cool, galvanizing clarity.

    Anyway, barring an old fashioned coup d’etate, it’s over. Time to Go Galt. Hunker down (if you haven’t already). Get you dual citizenship and prepare for the coming of the next crises – get your affairs and emergency supplies in order – or maybe get out ahead of the next national emergency or implosion.

    Because even my retired Leftist friends are worried about a country with no spare economic resources remaining to rescue the economy next time. The One has squandered away a healthy, productive economy – something only a competitive capitalist restructuring could do to rebuild productive personal incomes and restore institutional reserves.
    We’re all out of ‘bullets’ or tools and no longer make our own luck. Look out below!

    Our U.S. rankings for media freedom have collapsed to 47th in the world, and for economic freedom to 18th or lower (I recall 26 or 27th, but I cannot locate that stat); the UN reports that after Bush shrank this number, now – with Obama – the number of refugees in the world has swelled to over 51 million, a post-World War Two record high. And now our own Belief in Freedom has plummeted to 36th in the world. (SEE http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2014/0701/Land-of-the-free-Not-so-much.-Americans-sense-of-freedom-drops-poll-finds) Without freedom, happiness falls too.

    The greatest times of the greatest nation in world history are over. We are in an outrageous, insane, self-inflicted national decline. To borrow perhaps the most famous sci-fi movie line of all-time, Damn you, Obama! – Damn you all to Hell!!

    Have a happy Independence Day! – it will be a revolutionary era tri-corner hat with an Obama Joker-faced “SOCIALIST!” macabres kind of T-shirt day for me. Because there is a damaged and dangerous Joker for wielding absolutist power over everyone now.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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