Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Contemplating The Eschaton: An Introduction

In one of the blackest moods I've ever endured -- I'll tell you about it later; it's a "First World" problem if ever there was one -- I came upon this Richard Rahn column, a typical (and typically accurate) tirade whose money quote comes from others: two former heads of the Department of Justice's Asset Forfeiture Office:

"Civil asset forfeiture and money-laundering laws are gross perversions of the status of government amid a free citizenry."

Gee, wouldn't it be nice if we were a free citizenry that upholds a Constitutionally constrained republican government? But that hasn't been the case since 1913 at the very latest. The critical transition from our republican origins to our current oligarchy was when our federal government first successfully claimed it had "interests."

"Interests" are proper to a principal: one who owns something by right, whether it be an external possession or merely his life and freedom. Government as Constitutionally conceived is not a principal but an agent: an entity that wields strictly specified powers to discharge strictly specified responsibilities. Agents cannot have "interests," for they do not own that upon which they labor.

The Founding Fathers, justly suspicious of those who would seek the powers and prestige of government in the newborn Republic, decided to add a second layer of protections to individual freedom: the Bill of Rights, which explicitly guarantees what they believed to be the critical rights against which would-be tyrants would first move. No doubt they felt that with "suspenders and belt" firmly in place, American liberty was secure for the foreseeable future.

But when government in the United States graduated from being an agent that wields enumerated powers under strict Constitutional limits to being a principal with "interests" of its own, it immediately began to use those "interests" to trump the rights of individual Americans, including every one of the rights specifically called out in the Bill of Rights. The U.S. ceased to be a republic at that time, and Americans ceased, de jure if not de facto, to be free citizens.

The logic of tyranny is remorseless. It's no accident that Washington and the subordinate regimes should assert that the State's "interest" in suppressing drug traffic and money laundering should outweigh and override a citizen's rights to his property and to due process of law; it's the evolutionary development of a scheme in which State "interests" override citizens' rights. But let's remember what rights are really about:

"Rights are an archist concept. Rights have no meaning except when confronted with superior power. They are what is left to the people after the government has taken all its wants. Your country's Bill of Rights defines your most cherished freedoms how? By limiting the legal power of government to encroach upon them." [Eric L. Harry, via fictional anarchist theorist Valentin Kartsev in Harry's blockbuster Protect and Defend.]

By now it should be clear to all that a government has never "taken all it wants."

We allowed this to be done to us. We accepted glittering promises of "freedom from fear" -- security without responsibility -- and "freedom from want" -- prosperity without work -- made by smarmy politicians who were groping for our wallets and our guns even as they spoke. When the bills came due we were astonished at their size...and we paid them anyway, albeit with much grumbling.

Some of those bills had to be paid with the blood of our sons: in many cases, sons who were given no choice in the matter.

We are prone to blaming power-mongers. We tend to forget that the enforcement agency for the Constitution is the citizenry in arms -- that the Second Amendment guaranteed us the means to deal with usurpers and tyrants-in-embryo. We've let those means be wrested from our hands. So today, instead of a federal city and fifty state capitals whose lampposts are festooned with the bullet-ridden corpses of our oppressors as would be right and proper, we have so little command of our own destiny that those with the means are fleeing to other lands and renouncing their American citizenship. Who among us thought he would ever see such a development?

How much longer will it be before the last of the cosmetic facades of "freedom," regularly scheduled elections, falls by the wayside as well? Surely Washington can come up with an "interest" that trumps that particular fetish. Not that it's meant much in these latter days of near-perfect incumbency and government by faceless bureaucrats. Yet many people seem more attached to it than is reasonable, considering that no election has caused a significant change in the vector of State predation since Woodrow Wilson (and his butt buddy Edward M. House ) seized power. So perhaps the electoral farce will be permitted to continue in form for a while longer.

There are too many converging threats to what remains of these United States to remain sanguine about our future. Renascent superpower hostilities, our vitiated military, Islamic militancy, our uncontrolled borders, our collapsing economy -- don't allow yourself any illusions about that -- the steady acceleration of currency inflation, the demise of marriage, the "birth dearth," and the complete corruption of moral and ethical standards are only the worst of them. Yet of those nine, any three taken together would be sufficient to destroy any society known to history.

Each of the nine constitutes a war that must be won, conducted against us by adversaries determined to cast us down. Even the most prosperous, peaceful, and confident republic cannot fight three wars at once. Two can be managed by a United States in the fullness of its health and strength; after all, we've done it before. But three at once creates a thrashing effect that no polity but an absolute dictatorship can withstand...and even the most thoroughgoing autocracy can lose its way amid the complexities of a three-front campaign.

There are eighty-four possible combinations of nine things taken three at a time. That's the magnitude of the crisis upon us. Perhaps I'll analyze a few of those scenarios these next few days. At least it will make for entertainment of a sort as the foundations of our world crumble beneath us.

What's that? You want to hear about what brought about the "black mood?" It's fairly simple really, a confluence of two "First World" challenges, neither of which is insoluble by any means. The first is by far the less weighty: my employer has started to plead with me not to retire. He can't prevent it, of course, but he's playing on my sense of responsibility to my work with a fair degree of success: pointing out that he has no one who could plausibly take over my duties without severely undermining them. I'll beat that one even if I have to buy an F350, hook it to an Airstream, and leave no forwarding address.

The second one is far more formidable: the machine gun turret in the Solarii headquarters. Some help and guidance would be appreciated, but so far I've discovered none.

Back tomorrow, hopefully more...hopeful.


Anonymous said...

The "birth dearth" is no problem, unless you believe the young owe the old a retirement.

360 said...

'There are eighty-four possible combinations of nine things taken three at a time.'

Perhaps, but these are all variants of the same fundamental issue and will live or die as one.

RichJ said...

I wouldn't worry about your burden of the elderly, Anonymous. There will be enough more important things with which to concern oneself as our society generally slides toward the burning lake.

The republic has always depended upon a moral citizenry. Unfortunately, it seems to me at least that we are waaay beyond that point. Not only has the Constitution been eviscerated. the values upon which its based have gone missing in too many of us.

Everybody take care. Get straight with Him if at all possible. It is the only answer I can see.

Thanks for your great post today, man!

Anonymous said...

If your employer has no one who can replace you, it's time for you to demand a tripling of your salary. (If you have a sense of responsibility to your work, surely he has a sense of responsibility to your compensation for that work, doesn't he?)

I'd bet that all of a sudden you're not so irreplaceable after all.

Obola said...

Solarii turret - the one near the fountain at the end of the street?

Using available cover, dash, and élan, get to climb the building on the left to reach higher ground. Quick like a bunny, hop on the zipline on the right and take out the two enemies. Heal up. Go into the room on the left, and when a break occurs, toss a grenade across to destroy the turret. Take zipline for points.