Wednesday, January 8, 2014

"The System"

There's a lot of talk about "the system." Everyone has his own conception of it, which usually flows from the most important of his dissatisfactions. Nattering too freely about it can get you into trouble. But now and then, an articulated conception of "the system" proves to be critical to our understanding of the conditions and circumstances immediately around us:

One must understand the political situation as it exists. There is no reverence for the Constitution, the only thing that decides who does and who does not wield the power and authority the citizens have placed in the government. There is a means by which to elect representatives, but representatives and senators who refuse to obey their oaths of office, who turn a blind eye to abuses of power and outright usurpation of their own powers can not be functioning as representatives or senators and therefore, whether duly elected or not, are traitors and subversives.

There are no separation of powers, no equality of governmental branches. There is a president acting wholly outside the Constitution, usurping and abusing power without limit or consequence. Once the Supreme Court signed off on Obamacare, it effectively ruled that whatever the government wishes shall be done. The decision, in that case, was so sloppy and contradictory that it demonstrated an absolute disregard for the rule of law, the Constitution, stare decisis and any number of other judicial instruments of justice.

The system is broken. It is no longer a system of government at all, but rather a system of power.

T. L. Davis has summarized our plight more succinctly than I've seen it done before.

The Republic no longer exists. It breathed its last some time ago, though commentators of like mind disagree on the date that belongs on the death certificate. Nevertheless, the fact of the matter in the present day is beyond rational dispute.

The Republic was a system: a consciously designed counterposition of authorities, agents, interests, and latent corrective mechanisms intended to bring about a particular kind of nation. For a while, it worked as its designers had hoped. However, the emergence of dynamics they could not have anticipated brought about its downfall.

Some of those dynamics are fairly obvious: special-interest politics, the welfare-warfare state, the "national security state," and so forth. A couple require close scrutiny and hard thought.

The Founding Fathers sincerely hoped that the system would self-correct when it wandered from their ideals. Occasionally, it did; the balances and corrective mechanisms they designed were not pro forma gestures intended as cosmetics over a scheme for absolutism. But as time passed, the countervailing dynamics grew stronger than those intended to curb them. Certain developments stand out above the rest:

  • The use of direct taxation to create clients of the federal government, who would agitate for the expansion of its powers and activities;
  • The intimidation of the federal judiciary into a rubber stamp for the other two branches;
  • The loss of the ethic of independence and citizen sovereignty among Americans generally.

The last exertions against federal redistribution came during the administration of Grover Cleveland:

Though there has been some difference in statements concerning the extent of the people's needs in the localities thus affected, there seems to be no doubt that there has existed a condition calling for relief; and I am willing to believe that, notwithstanding the aid already furnished, a donation of seed-grain to the farmers located in this region, to enable them to put in new crops, would serve to avert a continuance or return of an unfortunate blight.

And yet I feel obliged to withhold my approval of the plan as proposed by this bill, to indulge a benevolent and charitable sentiment through the appropriation of public funds for that purpose.

I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution, and I do not believe that the power and duty of the general government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit. A prevalent tendency to disregard the limited mission of this power and duty should, I think, be steadfastly resisted, to the end that the lesson should be constantly enforced that, though the people support the government, the government should not support the people.

The intimidation of the federal judiciary was the work of Franklin D. Roosevelt:

The Judicial Procedures Reform Bill of 1937[1] (frequently called the "court-packing plan") was a legislative initiative proposed by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt to add more justices to the U.S. Supreme Court. Roosevelt's purpose was to obtain favorable rulings regarding New Deal legislation that had been previously ruled unconstitutional. The central and most controversial provision of the bill would have granted the President power to appoint an additional Justice to the U.S. Supreme Court, up to a maximum of six, for every sitting member over the age of 70 years and 6 months.

During Roosevelt's first term, the Supreme Court had struck down several New Deal measures intended to bolster economic recovery during the Great Depression, leading to charges from New Deal supporters that a narrow majority of the court was obstructionist and political. Since the U.S. Constitution does not mandate any specific size of the Supreme Court, Roosevelt sought to counter this entrenched opposition to his political agenda by expanding the number of justices in order to create a pro-New Deal majority on the bench.

As for the loss of the citizen-sovereignty ethic, it's difficult to put a specific event or date to it. However, the last visible exertion of citizen sovereignty of which I'm aware was The Battle of Athens. Since then, private citizens have not, at least to my knowledge, taken up arms against a corrupt governing body.

Those three developments, and their many corollary offshoots, fatally undermined the system the Founding Fathers had put in place.

T. L.'s concluding sentence is a call for a new sort of pro-freedom activism:

The fact is, unless we are willing to become tyrants ourselves, for our cause, as just as it truly is, there is no way to do this [i.e., restore the Republic] peacefully. Since I hold there is no way, I see no other alternative than to become subversives to the system in order to secure liberty and justice. Ourselves.

What that would mean at the point of implementation isn't perfectly obvious. To be a "subversive to the system" -- that is, to the system that has displaced the Republic -- is a statement of intention, not of method. However, it provides an orientation: Aim to undermine the edifice that has been built upon the Republic's rubble. It also provides far more food for thought than an essay of this brevity will normally offer.


RT Rider said...

Sometimes it's better to knock a building down and rebuild from scratch rather than to sink lots and lots of time, energy, and money to refurbish. This is especially true if the supporting structure need lots of coopering up.

The supporting structure of the United States might be weakened beyond salvaging. Decades of Marxist social engineering has weakened all the ties that bound the nation together and replaced them with false, state enforced doctrine, such as diversity, affirmative action, tolerance of deviancy, and other various forms of cultural idiocy.

So, if a collapse occurs, and the center crumbles, what will the periphery do? Will California, overrun by illegal immigration from cultures hostile to ours, be in a position to remain in the union, or will it opt for Mexico?

How about the south? Will they be interested in having another union with their old nemesis - Yankees?

I don't think anything is a given here. Fifty years ago, these questions wouldn't even be worthy of a second thought. But not now.

This form of Marxist indoctrination, via hijacking of the cultural institutions, has been far more effective, and devastating, than the old method of re-education camps used by Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot. Gramsci would be very pleased, I think.

agraves said...

I didn't read mention of Mr. Lincoln's war against the South, you remember the War Between the States, which established the Federal Government supreme over the states. It set the stage for all to follow. Then Mr. Wilson and the First World War and the Federal Reserve. The anti-federalists saw a lot of this coming but lost out to the late night ram through of our beloved document. I agree with Mr. Davis, glad he could arrive to the party. But like all bloggers there is only talk of how bad things are, not what needs to be done. Capiche?