Power For Me But Not For Thee

rep1“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” Alexis de Tocqueville

It wasn’t long after the founding of our Republic before the wolves were baying at the door. They were held in abeyance for a large part of our nation’s history but, as America became wealthier and Fabian socialist wormed their way into every aspect of our government, the ruling powers created what John Stuart Mill described as an invitation to every man “to plunge his hand into his neighbor’s pocket.”

The ruling power’s appetite for deference, power, and perks is never-ending. While they view themselves as the best and brightest, they wear on their sleeve the view that the rest of us are racist, retrograde, greedy, dysfunctional, unless property constrained, and above all STUPID, something that I occasionally agree with. After all, voters put Obama into office twice.

The ruling elite’s agenda is power for itself. It stakes its claim through intellectual moral pretense while holding that power through the means of patronage and promises.   Like left-wing parties everywhere, the ruling elite are a “machine,” fed by transferring money or jobs or privileges to the party’s followers or supporters. Their standard approach to any and all matters, to solve any problem is to increase the power of the government, to profit not only themselves but their allies, during economic downturns, social ills, natural disasters and scams such as global warming

By taxing and parceling out more than a third of what Americans produce, through regulations that reach deep into American life, our ruling elite have made themselves the arbiter of wealth and poverty. Laws and regulations are longer than ever because length is required to specify how people will be treated unequally. ObamaCare is a prime example with more than 2,700 pages to make certain that some states will be treated differently, that codified bargains between the government and parts of the health care industry, state governments and unions about who would and would not receive benefits, and who would pass indirect taxes onto the taxpayer.

By making economic rules dependent on discretion, the ruling elite teach that prosperity is to be bought with the coin of political support. In the 1990s and 2000s, as both parties forced banks to make housing loans to people who could not afford them, builders and investors made money hand over fist until the bubble burst and taxpayers had to foot the bill. Republicans bailed out Bears Stearns, let Lehman Brothers sink, but did rescued Goldman Sachs. Obama used money appropriated for other purposes to give major stakes in the auto industry to unions. The ethanol industry exists because of subsidies. Just the prospect of cap and trade laws set off a feeding frenzy among large corporations to show support for a “green” agenda because the prospect for such government allotments would be worth tens of billions of dollars.

Beyond patronage, picking economic winners and losers redirects the American people’s energies to tasks that the political class deems more worthy than what Americans choose for themselves. John Kenneth Galbraith’s characterization of America as “private wealth amidst public squalor” in The Affluent Society, 1958 has ever encapsulated the ruling elite’s idea that, left to ourselves we would squander the world’s resources. Our cars are too big, we eat unhealthy, think we can go to the doctor whenever we want to, and have the audacity to spend our money on things we want even though social justice demands we eat less, drive electric cars, live in smaller homes closer to work, accept medical rationing and give more of our money to the government to support an ever larger nanny state.

Ordinary people have gone a long way toward losing equal treatment under law. The America once described in civic books, in which no one could be convicted or fined except by a jury of his peers began disappearing with the passage of FDR’s ‘New Deal,’ that inaugurated today’s administrative state in which bureaucrats write, enforce, and adjudicate nearly all the rules and regulations. Today’s legal administrative texts are incomprehensibly detailed and freighted with provisions crafted exquisitely to affect equal individuals unequally.

Ever since Oliver Wendell Holmes argued in Missouri v. Holland, 1920 that presidents, Congresses, and judges could not be bound by the U.S. Constitution regarding matters that the people who wrote and ratified it could not have foreseen, it has become conventional wisdom among the ruling elite that they transcend the Constitution even as they pretend allegiance to it.  Today Holmes would simply say “I have a pen and I know how to use it.”

The ruling elite are just as keen on reforming our families and spiritual lives. In no other areas is the ruling class’s self-definition so definite, its contempt for opposition so patent, its Kulturkampf so open.  Christians, patriots, and conservatives are good for only a punch line.  They believes that families of faith are rooted in and perpetuate the ignorance commonly called religion, divisive social prejudices, and repressive gender roles, and are the greatest barrier to human progress.  Remember Obama’s statement that Christians cling to their bibles and guns? 

They legislate, regulate, and exhort in support not of “the family,” that is married parents raising children but, rather of “families,” meaning mostly households based on something other than marriage. While the ruling elite teach that relationships among men, women and children are contingent, it also insists that the relationship between each of them and the state is fundamental. That’s why you have left-wing nuts such as Hillary Clinton write law review articles and books advocating the abolishment of parental authority based on her perverted “it takes a village” theory. Where once a school nurse could not administer an aspirin to a child without parental consent, today they give our daughters pregnancy tests, and refer them to abortion centers without our consent or knowledge. Innocent until proven guilty is no longer the norm as children can be removed from the home on an anonymous tip of abuse. Even homeschooling has come under attack as the nanny state finds it disagreeable that parents should be able to guide their child’s upbringing.

The ruling elite, the enlightened ones know that all judgments are subjective, and ordinary people can no more be trusted with reason than they can with guns. Because ordinary people will pervert reason with ideology, religion, or interest, science is science only in the hands of the enlightened ones. Consensus among the elite is the only standard of truth. Facts and logic matter only insofar as proper authority acknowledges them.  By identifying science and reason with themselves, the elite delegitimize opposition. While they cannot prevent Americans from worshiping God, they can make it as socially disabling as smoking, to be done furtively and with a bad social conscience and those resistant to reform are to be pitied. Thus do they go about disaggregating and dispiriting the ruled.

“Geese are but geese, tho’ we may think’m swans, and truth will be truth tho’ it sometimes proves mortifying and distasteful.” Benjamin Franklin

Source: America’s Ruling Class And the Perils of Revolution, by Angelo M. Codevilla, The Spectator

 

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