Monday, November 2, 2020

Interregnum Or Restoration?

     This will probably be the last thing I post at Liberty’s Torch until Election Day is behind us. My thoughts this morning center on conceptions of continuity and upheaval, and what they mean within the nominal political order of these United States.

     We who comment on current affairs are prone to overusing dramatic words and phrases. We want to have an impact, you see. We seek to rivet you to our emissions, to make you think you’re reading something that could be massively consequential. So we’re prone to “overstating the case,” whatever the case may be.

     One of the words we tend to use inappropriately is revolution. “A revolution in federal budgetary management.” “A revolution in regulatory policy.” “A revolution in American foreign policy.” “A revolution in Americans’ attitudes.” With so many revolutions being bruited about, you really have to wonder why you can’t hear the gunfire.

     If we were compelled to be accurate in speaking of the events we style “revolutions” or “revolutionary,” those words would be almost completely absent from our lexicon. Revolutions are the stuff of Third World countries ruled by dictators and juntas. That’s because there’s no other way for the order of things to change in such places. And even in such benighted lands, the word “revolution” is often less appropriate than “coup.”

     The United States hasn’t had a revolution since the one that gave birth to the country. We’ve had a number of disturbances to the continuity of our affairs, the Civil War / War Between The States / Late Unpleasantness being the most dramatic. But a true revolution, in which the Constitutional order is completely destroyed in favor of some wholly alien arrangement, has not occurred here.

     What Americans suffer is something less easily discerned and therefore far more insidious. It’s called gradualism. Small changes to our political arrangements at the margins, insufficiently resisted when proposed even when openly antithetical to the Constitution’s guarantees, accumulate over time. The wheel turns by such small increments that we can hardly detect its motion. But given time enough, the tiny changes – an infringement on freedom of speech here; a restriction of the right to acquire weapons there; an arrogation of power over some longstanding social arrangement; a “tax” or regulation imposed not for revenue generation but to engineer compliance with an illegitimate but noble-sounding aim – sum to a complete transformation of the Land of the Free into something utterly alien.

     Revolution? No. Slow, incremental transformation? Yes.

     In the first paragraph of the previous segment, I spoke of the nominal political order of the U.S. “Nominal,” of course, means “in name:” the Constitutional order we speak of when asked about it. It’s been clear to me for some time that that order has been thoroughly subverted. If it’s been clear to you as well, congratulations. You’re one of a clear-eyed few.

     The “big reveal” took place during the House of Representatives’ ditherings over ObamaCare. Someone – I forget who – asked the odious Nancy Pelosi where in the Constitution Congress was granted the power to legislate on such matters. She indignantly said “That is not a serious question” and stalked away. Later on, she cited the “Necessary and Proper” clause and said, quite plainly, that it “gives us [Congress] the power to do anything.

     I shall refrain from analyzing the Necessary and Proper clause here. Rather, I shall ask a deeper question: If Congress has a legitimate power to do anything by Constitutional decree, then why does Article I, Section 8 enumerate seventeen explicit powers? Indeed, if the aim was to erect a federal government with unlimited powers over all things without exception, why have a Constitution at all?

     But Pelosi’s arrogation of unbounded power to Congress passed the public with hardly a whisper of protest. Shortly thereafter Congress passed ObamaCare in its entirety, and Barack Hussein Obama signed it into law. It was the victory parade of gradualism, and as such went almost unremarked by the national media.

     We had no idea that the United States was headed for an upheaval only a few years later.

     Donald Trump’s 2015 declaration of his candidacy for the presidency didn’t seem all that threatening to the existing political order at first. After all, it was his second time – he’d campaigned for the nomination of the Reform Party in 2000 – and his previous foray into presidential politics sank without a trace. But in 2016 Trump was serious, determined, and energized. He won “going away,” with an Electoral College margin far larger than even his most optimistic backers expected.

     It was an the standards of the political Establishment. Its members were unanimous in denouncing the “upstart” as a danger to the nation, a threat to the “rule of law.” But President Trump’s actions in office made it appear somewhat different to the citizenry. To us, it looked more like a restoration: a return to the American norms and standards that preceded the “progressive” Establishment’s accession and its gradualist campaign.

     Granted, it hasn’t been a “perfect” four years, whatever that might mean. Yet President Trump has been remarkably consistent and effective in carrying out his campaign pledges, and the nation has benefited hugely as a result. It took two utterly contrived “scandals,” a Chinese-engineered pandemic, and all the hatred and fear-mongering a Left-dominated press could conjure up to impede the Trump agenda. Despite all that, the Trump economy is already roaring back from the unwise and unnecessary “lockdowns” urged upon us by an irresponsible medical Establishment that will never pay a cost for its “mistakes.”

     Tomorrow is Election Day. Tomorrow or hopefully, very shortly thereafter, we will learn whether the four years just behind us constitute a brief interregnum, a mere interruption in the march of anti-Constitutional, anti-American “progressive” socialism, or whether they’re the opening of an ongoing period of American restoration. The voting and all the phenomena surrounding it will decide.

     There will be vote fraud and voter intimidation. There will be ballot harvesting. There will be fabricated votes and voting by non-citizens. There will be shenanigans in the media’s coverage of events, both while the balloting is in progress and afterward...perhaps long afterward. Despite our most ardent efforts, we could be bitterly disappointed. But we can only do what we can do.

     Vote Trump. And pray.


Col. B. Bunny said...

I think there has been a revolution. The War for Southern Independence ended state sovereignty but federal power outside the confines of the war and Reconstruction did not intrude and dominate every facet of existence the way it does now.

Chilton Williamson, Jr. has the story:

"The transition from states' rights to unitary nationalism, i.e., domestic imperialism, was the most significant development in American politics. This marks one the worst fears of the framers coming to fruition, tyranny."


"As Kent Masterson Brown (“Secession: A Constitutional Remedy That Protects Fundamental Liberties”) suggests, the meaning of the Constitution in respect of the relationship between the central government and the states is so extravagantly clear that neither intellectual density nor even incompetence can explain how the compact theory [Madison, Jefferson] was gradually overwhelmed and defeated by the nationalist one [Hamilton, Webster, Lincoln]. It was raw mental and political will that did the trick, abetted by intellectual dishonesty, demagoguery, and sheer mendacity."

Andy Texan said...

The only question I have is: Will the President in his second term seize hold of the executive branch and make it do his will or will he adopt a kumbaya attitude with his first term opponents? President Trump should do his best Josef Stalin impression with the progressives and traitors.