Posts Tagged ‘democratic republic’

POST-ELECTION VIOLENCE—YEA OR NAY?

October 5, 2020

An article was forwarded to me by a friend predicting the low likelihood of major violence post election based on his research. Putting aside the evident but low-key political bias of the piece, it makes an attempt to inject some objectivity into something that is inherently speculative. I also think it’s wrong.

Predicting the future is a hazardous enterprise for anyone at any time (just look at the 2016 presidential election). That being said, it’s important to dig down below the superficial political animus to the values of the citizens if you want to get close to the mark. Analogies have been made to the unrest of the 1960s and the 1860s in attempting to extrapolate. Admittedly I’m influenced by the work of William Strauss and Neil Howe in The Fouth Turning and I view the 1960s as a period of Awakening and the 1860s as a more serious period similar to the present, a Crisis. Neither resulted in the dissolution of the Union. Neither accurately represents the present state of affairs, however.

It’s important to note that dynasties (the empires of Alexander, Ottoman, Rome, to name a few), even very stable ones, do not last forever, although those living within them at the time all share the illusion of permanence. What generally ends them is mismanagement born of a change in, or non-adherence to, the values that led them to succeed, causing them to disintegrate from within. In our case, the Founders, with unprecedented historical astuteness, developed a Constitution, designed to anticipate and ameliorate the forces constantly in play aiming to destroy the values upon which the country was based. As outlined in the Declaration of Independence, they are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The country was founded on the principle of rights granted by God, not government; they incorporated proscriptions to limit federal power over the states (it was also essential to getting it passed). Hence, they constructed a democratic republic and not a democracy. They recognized that tyranny of the majority was no better than tyranny of a monarchy.

Over the past few decades, the Left, via masterful commandeering of the educational system and the heretofore monolithic media have pushed the worn siren call of socialism effectively. A sizable portion of the country (we’re about to learn if it’s more than half) has accepted the notion of equality of outcome over equality of opportunity, and the concept of institutionalized racism as the founding principle and white privilege as its result. They’ve also moved from E Pluribus Unum (from many, one) to the concepts of diversity and intersectionality. These are divisive, not unifying principles; no country can survive widescale acceptance of these destructive doctrines.

Given the above, I predict the following with a Trump win: The protests and violence will continue and likely intensify, becoming more multicentric, requiring more police, military and National Guard intervention. Barring a shift in values, over the next decade or two we will start hearing state calls for secession. If Biden wins, a doubling down on the Leftist policies whose effects over time can be gauged by looking at the present state of the big cities will move the government more toward a socialist paradigm, the Constitution will be progressively weakened, the economy slowed by increased regulations, and the growth of the federal government accelerated. Democracy will be increased at the expense of republicanism in the political sense, with attacks on representative mechanisms such as the electoral college intensifying. Federal agencies and corporations with assail liberties such as free speech with cancellation, “diversity” training, and racial quotas with more alacrity, heightening the influence of the “mob.” An over-extended, indebted economy weakened by the pandemic will accelerate the malaise. A delayed result will be armed backlash by right-wing groups, at first those that are more extreme (including some execrable white supremacist groups) and, if pushed far enough, ordinary conservative Americans (possibly abetted by effective annulment of the 2nd Amendment by oppressive regulations). Alternatively, conservatives, who are less prone to demonstrate or initiate violence (remember the maligned Tea Party), will withdraw from Left-dominated tools and form their own schools, businesses, sports teams, and social media and we’ll be a divided country, ripe for secessions or outside attack. Disunity took decades to seed and grow; reunification. if it occurs, will likely take as long, barring assault from an external, mutual threat.

There is no Dumbledore or Hogwarts, and no magic wand that can be waved to unify us, no matter who inhabits the White House.

THE CURSE OF LIBERTY

September 18, 2020

In science, we’re always talking about sensitivity and specificity. As an example, consider the COVID-19 test: the more sensitive it is for detecting the disease, the more likely it will over-call it in some individuals; it’s a yin and yang thing. Now, as the tests improve, both sensitivity and specificity can too, but there’s always a trade-off. Liberty is something like that.

Everyone, including politicians, plays lip service to fealty to freedom. It seems a no-brainer. Then why, time after time, do people vote away their freedom? We’ve seen the Palestinians do it for Hamas, and the Venezuelans for socialism. These are just two of the dozens of examples that could be cited. It’s because the ying to freedom’s yang is law and order, or more broadly, security. It’s not that freedom is incompatible with law and order; we’ve admirably demonstrated this for over a couple of hundred years and have had remarkably peaceful transitions of power. It’s just that it takes constant effort and sacrifice. And the people have to decide if it’s worth the price.

The sacrifice is obvious in obtaining liberty; it’s usually a war with casualties and death and a tremendous outlay of resources. Maintaining it is another matter. Liberty naturally fades, even in (one might say especially in) a democracy. Over time, in a successful society, people become acclimated to security. A free society, with equal access to opportunity, naturally favors those with greater talent who exhibit greater effort; those who have high levels of competence and conscientiousness, in the words of Jordan Peterson. This results in disparity of outcome. It does not mean that a rising tide doesn’t raise all boats, just that some boats are much larger and more opulent than others. Every good society with a conscience strives to help the small boats in danger of capsizing; this charity, or welfare, is a good thing. The problems begin when the people in the small boats begin to think those in the large boats are bad, and that the government needs to fix it. Then the charity moves to sanctioned theft. The argument about the point at which this occurs is the basis for politics and ideology. The bottom line is that democracy inevitably deteriorates into socialism which more quickly devolves into poverty and fascism. History proves this. Unequivocally. So the founders tried to create a democratic republic with checks and balances to slow the deterioration, recognizing that it could serve only a moral people.

As government and the welfare state has grown and crony capitalism inevitably along with it, the family has shrunk. Charity is slowly being replaced by government largess. One or two generations ago a check from the government was seen as failure and often shunned. Now it’s more common to see it as an entitlement and something to be sought after. Being taken care of is slowly becoming more important than liberty.

With liberty comes free speech with the downside of allowing “hate” speech. Law and order with the downside of more rogue agents misusing it with criminal intent. More reliance on self, family and friends, and the Church, and less on government. Clearly, some societies favor less freedom and more security.

The coming election is so important because it will demonstrate the net vector of America in terms of this preference. It will serve as a bellwether as to how much time remains in our current system of government, founded on the values of the Declaration of Independence and implemented in the Constitution. History tells us this. Unequivocally.

The curse of liberty is that it has in its seed the very essence of its own destruction.

THE UNITED STATES OF AMERITOCRACY

April 22, 2013

Our Founding Fathers were almost right. They labored mightily to create a system as far removed from the aristocracy that had blighted their existence and driven them to a new world, and a new world order. Rule of the people. But how do you prevent the people from becoming the tyrant? Nix the democracy and make a democratic republic. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

It worked for over 200 years. They had hoped it would work forever.  They knew, however, that if the fragile underpinnings of morality collapsed, the system couldn’t stand. Slowly, like the tongue of a dying wave lapping at the base of a sand castle, the Judeo-Christian ethic buttressing the political engine began to crumble, and now the republic is morphing into the Mr. Hyde they feared–unbridled democracy. Taxes rising, productivity falling,  and more and more citizens sucking at the teat of the welfare state. The people choosing to vote as the have-nots against the haves. It’s the Hatfields and the McCoys, writ large; the American twist on tribal warfare.

The Sunnis have the Shias to hate. The Pakistanis have the Indians. And they all hate the Jews. In this country we suffer the inconvenience of relative homogeneity, having achieved more than a modicum of a national identity, so we have to vent by means of various shades of racism and classism. True, the former has become a bit more of a struggle as institutionalized racism has dramatically declined  over the past few decades, but there’s enough hatred in people’s hearts, especially in some parts of the land, to provide fuel for the hyperbole that makes many of the minority leaders rich and powerful. And maybe that hyperbole is a good thing. There are few things as ugly as bigotry. Stealing a person’s dignity and robbing them of opportunity simply because of the way they were born, whether it be defined by color or status, is an abomination. It’s a form of rape that differs little in kind from what a dictator like Kim Jung-un does on a mass scale to a whole people (identical ethnicity notwithstanding). The operative word here is opportunity. Equality of opportunity is the cornerstone of a stable nation and a peaceful world. Liberals, in their well-intentioned but muddied thinking have confused this with equality of outcome. It leads to distorted perceptions that attempt to justify perversions such as reverse-racism that takes the form of misguided affirmative action and claims for reparations, rather than seeking true color-blindness based on recognition of merit.

Which brings me to the crux of the matter: What made this country exceptional was never democracy at all–it was meritocracy. The idea that anyone, black, white, red, yellow, or brown, born with privilege or in the streets, with hard work and ingenuity could become a success. Try to achieve that in a country that defines your limits from cradle to grave by, say, the caste you’re born to.

Does the American system always work? Of course not. As long as there are bad people trying to game it, and there always will be, it will from time to time stumble. But it works better here than anywhere else. We need to protect it with our hearts, our minds, and, sadly, at times with our lives. Our Founding Fathers  would have been appalled by the fascination Americans display for the Royal Family, whose claim to wealth and fame is nothing more  than the womb from which they slid, and a womb that represented oppression of the very people it governed.

We don’t need more Democrats or Republicans. Let’s bring on the Ameritocrats.