Archive for the ‘Country Class’ Category

Security of Person? Hah!   Leave a comment

In January 2014, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Navarette v California, a case in which a wrong decision will effectively repeal the 4th Amendment, which basically states that Congress may make no law that infringes the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures. It also establishes the probable cause standard for warrants that specify the place to be searched and the persons or items to be seized.

In 1968, the Supreme Court ruled that “…law enforcement may perform a search when they have a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, even if it falls short of probable cause necessary for an arrest.” This reasonable suspicion standard created by the court has provided police the necessary “legal” authority to perform searches in violation of 4th Amendment language. In fact, thanks to the Court, the overwhelming majority of searches conducted in the U.S. today are warrantless searches. Obtaining a warrant has become an annoyance, a bothersome anachronism that is said to interfere with the timely administration of justice. The Navarette case is just another brick in the wall that separates the people from our rights as listed in the 4th Amendment.

Frankly, given the NSA scandal, I’m surprised to hear we haven’t already appealed the 4th amendment. I thought we had.

So, if a convention of the states meets and proposes an amendment to it, the state legislatures refusing to ratify it might help to reset our national understanding of what the 4th amendment means. Again, there’s that whole ownership discussion that might take place that I think would be worthwhile for the entire nation to have.

Do we have a right to security of person, papers, home and effect?

Or does the government get to violate it based upon a flavor-of-the-month standard that we can’t argue against?

The question matters if we’ll just bother to ask it!

Thank You and Stay Tuned   1 comment

I want to thank my followers and those who stop in occasionally because someone else reblogged a post. I do appreciate you taking the time to read my thoughts.

I don’t have all the answers. Some things I don’t have any answers. One answer that I have, however, is us … you and I and the guy who lives down the block from each of us. We the people were always meant to rule ourselves in the United States. Somehow we’ve gotten away from that. We expect our representatives to make all the tough choices, while at the same time we want them to give us benefits without taking too much of our money, and we think they should intuit that from the results of an election.

That needs to change!

We the people need to engage our representatives, stop voting for those who promise us benefits that steal from other people, and start making choices that put we the people back in the role of self-governance. This might be uncomfortable! I know it will be uncomfortable. It is necessary!

To that end, this new series might make you, me and the guy down the block uncomfortable.

Good!!!!

Thank you for stopping by, thank you for your support … and thank you in advance for making this series stronger by ARGUING here on the pros and cons of what I am going to propose.

Self-governance … it’s a participatory sport.

Obama Care Train Wreck   2 comments

I think Senator Max Baucus of Montana is worried about reelection. Baucus was intimately involved in writing ObamaCare, but when Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius appeared before the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday, chairman Baucus scolded her about the “coming train wreck” posed by implementation of the bill.

Under the timeline of the law, health care exchanges are supposed to be open for enrollment on Oct. 1 and ready to dole out benefits at the start of 2014. Baucus expressed skepticism that exchanges would actually be open in every state, including Montana, and he spoke of the confusion about the law he encounters when he goes back home.

“The administration’s public information campaign on the benefits of the Affordable Care Act I think deserve a failing grade,” Baucus told Sebelius. “You need to fix it.”

He continued, “I am very concerned that not enough is being done so far. Very concerned. When I am home, small businesses have no idea what to do, what to expect. They don’t know what affordability rules are, they don’t know what penalties may apply, they just don’t know.”

Baucus said that a CPA told him that small business clients are “throwing their hands up” and the CPA doesn’t know what to tell them.

“I just see a huge train wreck coming down,” Baucus warned. “You and I have discussed this many times and I don’t see any results yet.”

Baucus is up for reelection in Montana next year in a state that went for Mitt Romney by a more than 13 percent margin and Cook Political Report rates him as vulnerable. Though the race is still considered to lean in his direction as the incumbent, if the implementation of Obamacare goes as disastrously as many expect, he’s probably in trouble.

With his fingerprints all over the law, Baucus cannot really run away from it, so he’s laying the groundwork to blame any failures on implementation, rather than design. The “train wreck” comment drew the most headlines, but this comment is the more important one. “If the administration implements it correctly, millions more Americans will gain access to health care as a result of the law.” In essence, he’s saying the law itself is fine, but the bureaucrats are screwing it up.

Politically, the strategy is similar to the one many Republicans who voted for the Iraq War pursued when the public soured on the war. They’d defend their support for the war effort while finding a way to distance themselves from elements of President Bush’s strategy, such as troop levels. Ultimately, this didn’t shield many Republicans from the Democratic wave in 2006 and, if Obamacare implementation fails, a Baucus-style pivot probably won’t save vulnerable Democrats.

Bye-bye, Baucus and bye-bye, Mark Begich. Good riddance! Don’t let the gate hit you on the way out!

Dog Training for Democrats   Leave a comment

In training retrievers, I learned the Koehler dog training. No, this is not an ad, but if you need a well-training dog ….

Really, what I’m about is one lesson from the Koehler method. We all know puppies chew and they usually pick your favorite and most expensive shoes to chew. I know people who have lost multiple pairs of shoes. I’ve only lost one pair per pup. Ron Koehler, who trained Rin Tin Tin in the movies (among others) advocated a form of aversive therapy to stop the chewing. You take the item the pup chewed and you place it crosswise in the dog’s mouth and hold it there until the dog starts drooling and gagging. It’s most effective if you do it with duct tape because the dog doesn’t associate the unpleasant experience with you, but instead associates it with the shoe (or whatever) in their mouth. Eventually, they paw off the tape, which usually causes some pain and that’s a good thing too. The next day, you offer the dog the shoe. If it backs away with a whine, lesson learned. If it accepts it, you repeat the aversive therapy. I’ve only had one dog accept the shoe the third day.

So, what does that have to do with politics, Lela?

The Democrats have created this lovely “shoe” called Obama Care. In fact, they’ve littered the playground of society with all sorts of tasty treats. But when your mouth is stuffed to overflowing, even with a food you REALLY LIKE, and you start to gag, all of a sudden that food doesn’t seem so tasty anymore.

Obama Care is gag-worthy. Some of us were like my current yellow Lab who only needed the shoe in her mouth once for five minutes to swear off footwear for life. Other of us were more like my husky who needed two hours on the third night of ripping duct tape off her face before she realized that footwear wasn’t so tasty. The Democrats crammed our national mouth full to the brim of what they thought was a tasty concoction, but as our fellow humans hold it in their mouth a bit longer, I think they’re going to start to gag and by Fall 2014 they’ll be ready to hurl … Democratic incumbents out of office.

That doesn’t solve our problems, but it does give us an opportunity to elect leaders rather than rulers who may be willing to represent our interests for a change.

Maybe ….

Examining the Divide   5 comments

Everyone is concerned about political polarization. Well, not everyone. I happen to see it as a sign of the health of the republic. We’re getting tired of where we’re headed and we’re about to experience a sea-change. Not everyone has such a view. The Huffington Post hit “we’re divided, the sky is falling” theme hard the other day.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/political-polarization

The commentator was aghast at Paul Ryan’s latest budget. Perhaps she doesn’t realize that President Obama won by less than 1% of an election where a large fraction of conservatives stayed home, so she CANNOT say that the 2012 election was a national repudiation of conservative beliefs. From my perspective it was a conservative repudiation of moderate progressive Mitt Romney.

Read the article because it is illustrative of the divide in this country.

“It’s not just about numbers. It’s not just about programs. It’s about a philosophy that is fundamentally opposed to the values and principles upon which our country was founded.” Morna Murray

Really, the values this country was founded on? You mean self-reliance and independent liberty? She goes on to show her lack of historical knowledge. The fact that she does is what has me pondering. History is something we can study and learn from, but the progressives treat it like something they can manipulate for their own ends.

Royalty-Free Images: Politicians Fighting Over American Flag

This is not the first time the country has been embroiled in turmoil over out-of-control deficit spending and a spiraling national debt. Until the 1930s, we’ve always chosen to cut spending, put up with somewhat higher taxes for a time, and address our issues, then once our fiscal house was in order, we’ve lowered tax rates and lived with limited government until the next crisis — almost always a war. In the 20th century, we lost sight of that ethos. The country has been drifting to the left ever since. When those on the left say conservatives should compromise (like we have always done before), they fail to realize that there comes a point (and we are well past it) where further compromise will result in the destruction of what this country was founded on – liberty. My son is 14 years old and he already owes more than $53,000 as his share of the national debt. That’s more than the average adult in the country makes in annual wages.

Yes, we are a polarized country. The solution to that is not for conservatives to emulate Republicans and continue to compromise with our national elitists’ insanity, but for us to insist that alternative solutions be considered. The time for non-violent resistance has come. There was a good start made with the “tea party” movement, but the so-named movement has lost steam after being co-opted by the Republican party – which should be a cautionary flag. Clearly, resistance has not gone away, but it is becoming more local and less visible. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Politics is local. It’s where you have the most chance to make an impact. Is there some sort of non-partisan conservative organization in your community? Find out how to get involved. If there isn’t one, start one. Do you Twitter or Facebook? Why not have some respectful conversations with your liberal friends and neighbors?

Probably the most important thing you can do is teach your kids history and political science. My son’s summer program involves the Founding Fathers, whether he likes it or not. His sister is going through the early 20s phase of knowing more than your parents, but she has surprisingly libertarian views that she believes I don’t approve of. Make the differences you can make and be prepared to take the next step as it arises. Resistance is still alive even if it isn’t getting much media attention.

http://www.boston.com/metrodesk/2013/04/13/hundreds-gather-for-tea-party-anti-tax-rally-boston-common/3rgOHqvOPkDRlVk49g8FfP/story.html

As I’ve written before, the “country party” is diverse. The above article demonstrates that. Diversity is both our greatest strength and our greatest weakness. We can come together around shared issues like waste, fraud and abuse of authority or we can divide to fight separate battles. It’s up to us to decide.

Still Partying   2 comments

There are a lot of folks who think the tea party has faded into the dust bin of historical fads, but thousands of activists plan to gather in all 50 states to mark Tax Day (April 15) and to re-ignite a movement that the media and political/ruling class wrote off as dead.

Unfairly tarnished by charges of racism, extremism and violence (especially after the Giffords shooting in January 2011) and marginalized by Republican leadership who prefer compromise over fiscal restraint, the tea party (and note, I don’t capitalize it because it’s not a political party, but a loosely defined movement) seemed to retreat. After propelling the Republican into the majority in the House of Representatives in 2010, the movement failed in its political aim of defeating President Obama in 2012, largely because it could not agree on an alternative nominee to Gov. Mitt Romney, who was not acceptable to conservatives.

Tea Party versus Fox News?

The tea party did succeed, however, in slowing the rapid growth of federal spending and taxation, ensured that there will be no bailouts of profligate states and no large-scale tax increases in the short term. By shifting the national debate in favor of deficit reduction, the tea party laid the foundation for the budget sequester, which the American people have largely found tolerable, even as President Obama attempted to create a crisis around it.

The tea party was focused on out-of-control government spending and, after seeming to lose the health care debate (at least in the short term), the movement should be expected to fade into the background as most “silent majority awakened” movements do, but the tea party is gaining momentum as an opposition force through continued stress on the Constitution. The Second Amendment, the rule of law and the federalist system that the ruling-political class has severely eroded in recent decades make a good foundation for a  political stand without being so narrowly focused that the disparate goals of the country class creates division.

Conservatives have been challenged a great deal since the election and politicians once backed by the tea party who are now trying to recreate themselves as moderates may be adding to the challenges. The country needs the opposition that the tea party provides. In a two-party system where the major parties are unable to undo the worst aspects of the policies created through their collusion and the mainstream media no longer bother to hold Washington up to scrutiny, only movements like the tea party can potentially provide the spark for the country’s critically-needed renaissance.

It doesn’t escape my notice that today is Tax-Day and the first day of all the new taxes associated with ObamaCare, the issue that brought the tea party to national prominence.

Let’s not forget what we threw the party for. As the situation changes and flows, the tea party can and must grow. The country class needs to decide what our next passion will be.

Whatever Happened to Integrity?   2 comments

Every society throughout history has formed some system of governance. Like all living creatures, humans innately desire to survive and prosper. Some people prefer the path of least resistance and welcome a central authority that does much of the thinking for them. Others have a need to conquer or maintain control over their fellow man. Thus, a ruling class is born. Great nations have, throughout history, taken this to extremes and usually burned themselves into ashes because human individuals are greedy and lust for power.

The antidote for human avarice and megalomania is a set of morals and corresponding ethical rules, originally espoused millennia ago within a religious context, but meant to offer guidance in the dealings of society, to provide boundaries for the ruling class as it deals with the governed and as it deals within its own ranks.

The framers of the US Constitution were remarkably astute about basic human nature, so they set forth a form of government and a written Constitution to greatly limit those who would attempt to rule over the people. They acknowledged that the success and future of the Republic would depend on the honor and integrity of its leaders and citizens.

“Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” (John Adams)

The potential disintegration of the United States cannot be credited solely to the incestuous makeup of the current ruling class, but also to its abandonment of morals and religion. The Obama administration, the majority of the members of Congress and much of the judiciary, as well as academia and the media, represent the culmination of the degradation of ethics and character within the ruling class.

We started on this course when Congress and the president in the early 20th century discovered they could bribe the public with the public’s own money. The focus of politics began to shift from self-limiting public service and adherence to the Constitution to seeking, centralizing, and maintaining power while amassing individual wealth. Slowly that approach seeped into the psyche of the rest of the ruling class and society and government began the long steady process of compromising time-tested standards of ethics, honesty and integrity, based on Judeo-Christian teachings.

Each step on this march was justified as a moral or societal imperative, a redefined right, or a necessity to save people from themselves. As government grew more intrusive and centralized, the heady tonic of near-omnipotent authority and cult worship moved many politicians to do or say anything to achieve or preserve elected office.

The field of education began to teach that there are no absolutes and no moral or ethical guidelines except to do whatever makes one “happy.” Any problems simply create demand for new programs, which furthers the consolidation of authority in the hands of a select few. Any mention of God was eliminated, as religious values, being timeless and universal, undermine the process of corrupting and remaking society.

The mainstream media, once the watchdog of government wrongdoing, was captured by ideology, lifestyle, and its newfound celebrity status, so that most of my former profession chases whatever is fashionable as established by media elites rather than upholding the traditions of honest news-gathering.

To groups within the ruling class, truth and facts have become obstacles to be replaced by outright lies or obfuscations euphemistically referred to as “spin.” This gradual degradation of integrity and ethical standards has allowed for the acceptance of a philosophy espoused by despots throughout history, and one that forms the underpinning of the character of President Obama, his administration, a majority of the ruling class, and a plurality in Congress.

The Machiavellian doctrine of the end justifies the means epitomizes corruption in any society and heralds the ultimate demise of that same society. Any leader within government or the national community who is captive to that thinking must necessarily be devoid of ethics, integrity, or morals. Remember my earlier post about anti-social personality disorder.

Thus, President Obama and others are willing to lie to achieve their ends, such as the deliberate falsehoods, obfuscations, and manipulation of data that took place during the passage of the Affordable Care Act. These lies are now coming to light after the fact.

There was and remains no hesitation to flout the rule of law and the Constitution, as President Obama did in the takeover of General Motors, Chrysler, the banks, insurance companies, and the appointment of numerous “czars” in avoidance of congressional approval.

Meanwhile, the media, instead of reporting the news, uses the power of the press to manipulate or omit the news to favor their preferred politician or cause and maintain their place in the ruling class.

Politicians and special interest groups are willing to foment racial tensions by inciting animosity and fear among the populace in order to maintain power.

President Obama and his cohorts willingly and deliberately placed the country on a collision course with national bankruptcy through inconceivable levels of deficit spending in order to advance a radical agenda which will permanently empower the current ruling class.

Recently, much has been made of the lack of leadership displayed by the president. Much was made of his inexperience in executive management, but after four years in office, he ought to be more skilled than he appears. “The supreme quality for leadership is uncontestably integrity.” (Dwight Eisenhower). President Obama and much of the ruling class are bereft of that quality.

A national leader or a member of the ruling class without honor and integrity cannot be trusted because he cannot act in the best interest of others, only of himself. Captive to ideology and incapable of change, he surrounds himself with sycophantic philosophical soul mates. He cannot abide criticism, constructive or otherwise, as he will always view it through the lens of personal insecurity. Truth becomes a casualty of unrestrained narcissism. He cannot assume responsibility for failure, seeking always for others to blame. Without honor and integrity as the foundation of his character, failure and further erosion of the future of the country will follow in his footsteps.

The United States is staring into an abyss unimagined in our lifetimes or even our parents’ and grandparents’ generations. The end of America is no longer just a subject of fiction writers. The people of this nation must understand that they cannot turn to the ruling class for solutions, as not only is this source of leadership incapable of providing it, but its members are the catalyst for the country’s potential demise.

We need a peaceful revolution to overthrow the current ruling class. The citizens of the United States must not only elect representatives with proven integrity and character, but also recognize the importance of those traits in their own lives. They – we — must return to being the religious and moral people John Adams referred to. Only then can this current ruling class be replaced by one that reflects the true greatness of this country.

Don’t Become Dictators Ourselves   Leave a comment

For the country class and its as-yet unidentified representative political party to step into a national leadership role would require overcoming some long-established national dysfunctions. When the country class (conservatives) talk about smaller government reaping huge benefits, they need to be honest about the pain it would initially cause to some segments of society.

Reducing the taxes that most Americans resent requires eliminating a network of tax-financed subsidies to millions of other Americans and the jobs of government employees who administer those subsidies. Eliminating that network is practical because subsidies are morally wrong and economically counterproductive and the country cannot afford the practice. Doing it would be hard because neighbor would watch neighbor have to adjust. The electorate is not likely to cut off millions of government clients unless its choice is between no economic privilege for anyone and ratifying government’s role as the arbiter of all our fortunes. If there’s a grey area where we can mush out, many will choose “compassionate” conservativism, which is just another ruling class controlling us with ideals we might enjoy at first, until we realize we are REQUIRED to do them.

The same goes for government grants to and contracts with so-called nonprofit institutions or non-governmental organizations. The case against all arrangements by which the government favors some groups of citizens is easier to make than that against any particular arrangement. Without too much fuss, a few obviously burdensome bureaucracies (the Department of Education, for example) can be eliminated, while money can be cut off to partisan enterprises such as the National Endowments and public broadcasting. That sort of thing is as necessary to the American body politic as a weight reduction program is essential to restoring the health of any human body degraded by obesity and lack of exercise. Without straining the metaphor in the least, shedding fat is the easy part; restoring atrophied muscles is harder. Reenabling the dysfunctional body to do elementary tasks takes more concentration. Rehabilitation of the republic would be a long-term project.

The grandparents of today’s Americans (132 million in 1940) had opportunities to serve on 117,000 school boards. To exercise responsibilities comparable to their grandparents’, today’s 310 million Americans would need to decentralize the remaining 15,000 districts into which public school children are now concentrated. They would have to take responsibility for curriculum and administration away from credentialed experts, while explaining to the public why they are qualified to make these decisions. This would involve a level of political articulation of the body politic far beyond voting in elections every two years.

If self-governance means anything, it means that those who exercise government power must depend on elections. The shorter the electoral leash, the more likely an official to have his chain yanked by voters, the more truly republican the government is. Subjecting the modern administrative state’s agencies to electoral control would require ordinary citizens to take an interest in any number of technical matters. Law can require environmental regulators (or insurance commissioners or judges or auditors) to be elected, but only citizens’ discernment and vigilance could make these officials good. Only citizens’ understanding of and commitment to law can possibly reverse the disregard for the Constitution and statutes that has permeated American life. Unfortunately, it is easier for anyone who dislikes a court’s or an official’s unlawful act to counter it with another unlawful one than to draw all parties back to the foundation of truth.

While the ruling class’s greatest difficulty — aside from being outnumbered — will be to argue, against the grain of historic and current reality, that the revolution it continues to press upon America is sustainable, the country class’s greatest difficulty will be to enable a revolution to take place without imposing it. Americans have been imposed on enough and if the country class, should it gain sufficient opportunity to revolutionize, chose that route, it would itself become just another ruling class. Yes, we do have to rely on elections and dialogue with our fellow citizens. Yes, we do have to explain ourselves and show that our ideas work. We cannot simply say “It’s our way or else”. Force is the ruling class’ tool. Let’s not go that way.

Don’t Become Astroturf   Leave a comment

The ruling class’s appetite for deference, power, and perks grows. The country class disrespects its rulers, wants to curtail their power and reduce their perks. The ruling class openly views the rest of Americans are racist, greedy, and thoroughly stupid. The country class is ever more convinced that our rulers are corrupt, malevolent, and inept. The rulers want the ruled to shut up and obey. The ruled want self-governance, which is the antithesis of shut up and obey. The clash between the two is about which side’s vision of itself and of the other is right and which is wrong. Because each side — especially the ruling class — embodies its views on the issues, concessions by one side to another on any issue tend to discredit that side’s view of itself. One side or the other will prevail. The clash is certain; it will be momentous and its outcome is unpredictable.

In this clash, the ruling class holds most of the cards. It has established itself as the fount of authority and its primacy is based on habits of deference. Establishing other founts of authority, other ways of doing things, would involve far more than electoral politics.  The country class has long argued along with Edmund Burke against making revolutionary changes, but it now faces the uncomfortable question common to all who have had revolutionary changes imposed on them.

Are we supposed to accept what was done to us just because it was done?

Sweeping away a century’s accumulation of bad habits is hard enough, but we also want to preserve what good has developed over the last century.  Yes, there was some good. The Civil Rights movement and women’s equality were by and large positives that we should want to preserve while encouraging them toward maturity. Let’s not throw out the good with the bad. As the country class as a whole never wanted to be rulers or even become very politically involved, they lack organization, which makes reestablishing a set of better, functional institutions and habits much harder than going with the flow. By contrast, the ruling class holds strong defensive positions and is well represented by the Democratic Party. Demographically, drawing from the polls prior to the 2012 election, the ruling class faces a two to one numerical disadvantage, predicting defeat. As should be obvious from the country-class “tea party” protests, ruling class victory would leave it in control of a people whose confidence it cannot regain. The ruling class long ago and increasingly has lost legitimacy in the eyes of those they wish to rule.

Certainly the country class lacks its own political vehicle — and perhaps the coherence to establish one. In the past, the country class has channeled its political efforts through the Republican Party, which has been eager for its support. This needs to change as the Republican Party does not represent the country class. The country class is all about principles and the GOP has not been principles-based since the mid-1860s. The few who tried to make it act upon principles (Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan) were treated as rebels by the party. The party helped defeat Goldwater. When it failed to stop Reagan, it saddled his and subsequent Republican administrations with establishmentarians who, under the Bush family, repudiated Reagan’s principles as much as they could. Barack Obama exaggerated in charging that Republicans had driven the country “into the ditch” all alone. But the GOP is no less guilty than the Democrats. Few Republican voters, never mind the larger country class, have confidence that the party is on their side. In the long run, the country class will not, should not, support a party as conflicted as today’s Republicans. Those Republican politicians who really want to represent it will either reform the party in an unmistakable manner or start a new one as Whigs like Abraham Lincoln started the Republican Party in the 1850s.

The name of the party that will represent America’s country class is far less important than what it actually represents and how it goes about representing it because, for the foreseeable future, American politics will consist of confrontation between the country class and the ruling class. The Democratic Party has great discipline and partisan cohesion. To challenge it would require a rival party at least as disciplined. Government by one party or another is the pattern over most of the world, but this logic has always been foreign to America and naturally leads in the direction toward which the ruling class has led. Any country party would have to be wise and skillful indeed not to become the Democrats’ mirror image.

To defend the country class and break down the ruling class’s presumptions, a “country party” would have no choice, but to imitate the Democrats, at least in some ways and for a while. The ruling class denies its opponents’ legitimacy. Seldom does a Democratic official or member of the ruling class speak on public affairs without reiterating the litany of his class’s claim to authority, contrasting it with opponents who are either uninformed, stupid, racist, shills for business, violent, fundamentalist, or all of the above. They hope this will dispirit their opponents, who often hear no other characterizations of themselves and no authoritative voice discrediting the ruling class. Any political party contending to represent the country class will need to attack the ruling class’s fundamental claims to its superior intellect and morality in such a way as to dispirit the ruling class’s supporters and edify the country class. These are the rules the Democrats have set for modern politics and any opponents who want electoral success are obliged to follow them.

Therein rests my problem with political parties in general. Suppose the Country Party (whatever its name would be) captured Congress, the presidency and most statehouses. A conservative’s dream, yeah? Maybe not. If its majority were slim, it would be tempted to follow the Democrats’ course from 2009-2010 and write its wish list of reforms into law regardless of the Constitution and enact them by partisan majorities supported by interest groups that gain from them, while continuing to vilify the other side. Whatever effect this might have, it surely would not be to make America safe for self-governance because by carrying out its own “revolution from above” to reverse the ruling class’s previous “revolution from above,” it would have made that ruinous practice standard in America.

Any revolution designed at party headquarters would be antithetical to the country class’s diversity and the American Founders’ legacy. Achieving the country class’s inherently revolutionary objectives in a way consistent with the Constitution and its own diversity would require the Country Party to use legislation primarily as a tool to remove obstacles and to instruct and reintroduce long neglected practices and principles into American life. As hard as passing national legislation in a Constitutional way would be it would be easier than getting people to take up the responsibilities of citizens, fathers, and entrepreneurs.

Sorting Out the People’s Priorities   4 comments

Left to itself, the country class would be concerned with its own, largely local interests and probably never have gotten involved in national politics in a large way. The class is too diverse to have a singular agenda. Each diverse part has its own agenda, which flows from the peculiar ways in which the ruling class impacts its concerns. Independent businesspeople are naturally more sensitive to the growth of privileged relations between government and their competitors. Persons who would like to lead their community rue the advantages that Democratic and Republican party establishments are accruing. Parents of young children and young women anxious about marriage worry that cultural directives from on high are dispelling their dreams. The faithful to God sense persecution. All resent higher taxes and loss of freedom. More and more realize that their own agenda’s advancement requires concerted resistance to the ruling class across the board.

Independent business people have nightmares about not being at the table when government makes the rules about how they must run their businesses. They know they will be required to pay more, work harder, and show deference for the privilege of making less money. What can they do about it? In our time the entanglement of government and business, relying on a network of subsidies, preferences, and regulations, is so thick and deep, that independent businesspeople cannot hope to undo any given regulation or grant of privilege. No manufacturer can hope to reduce the subsidies that raise his fuel costs. No set of doctors can shield themselves from the increased costs and bureaucracy resulting from government mandates. Independent business’s agenda has been to resist the expansion of government in general, and of course, to reduce taxes. Pursuit of this agenda with arguments about economic efficiency and job creation, often with support of the Republican Party, has usually resulted in enough relief to discourage more vigorous protest.

However, more and more independent businesspeople have come to think of their economic problems in moral terms. “The sum of good government,” Thomas Jefferson said, is not taking “from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.” For government to advantage some at others’ expense, he wrote, “is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association.” That sort of thinking could and has lead to revolutions.

Bureaucrats and teachers’ unions disempowered neighborhood school boards. The governments of towns, counties, and states became conduits for federal mandates. The ruling class reduced the number and importance of things that American communities could decide for themselves. All the while, in response to this, America’s thirst for self-governance reawakened. Realizing that public employees are almost always paid more and have more generous benefits than the private-sector people whose taxes support them sharpened the sense among many in the country class that they now work for public employees rather than the other way around. How to reverse the roles? How can voters regain control of government? Restoring localities’ traditional powers over schools, including standards, curriculum, and prayer, would take repudiating two generations of Supreme Court rulings. So would the restoration of traditional “police” powers over behavior in public places. Bringing public employee unions to heel is only incidentally a matter of cutting pay and benefits. Self-governance is crimped primarily by the powers of government personified in its employees. Restoring it would require deciding that any number of functions now performed and the professional specialties who perform them are superfluous or worse. Explaining to one’s self and neighbors why such functions and personnel do more harm than good, while the ruling class brings its powers to bear to discredit you, is a very revolutionary thing to do.

America’s pro-family movement is a reaction to the ruling class’s emptying marriage of legal sanction, promoting abortion, and progressively excluding parents from their children’s education. Americans reacted to these challenges primarily by sorting themselves out. Close friendships and marriages became rarer between those who think well of divorce, abortion, and government authority over children and those who do not think well of these things. The homeschool movement, greatly facilitated by the Internet, involves not only each family educating its own children, but also extensive and growing social, intellectual, and spiritual contact among like-minded persons. The part of the country class that is most concerned with family matters has taken on an almost biological identity. Few in this part of the country class have any illusion that simply retreating into private associations will actually save their families from societal influences designed to discredit their ways. Stopping the ruling class’s intrusions would require discrediting its entire conception of man, of right and wrong, and of the role of courts in popular government. That revolutionary task would involve far more than legislation.

The ruling class’s strident efforts to discredit and drive worship of God out of public life convinced many among the vast majority of Americans who believe and pray that today’s regime is hostile to the most important things of all. Not even the Soviet Union arrested students for wearing crosses or praying, or reading the Bible on school property, as some U.S. localities have done in response to Supreme Court rulings. Every December, Christians are reminded that the ruling class deems the very word “Christmas” offensive. Every time we try to exercise our religious identity in public affairs, we are deluged by accusations of being “American Taliban” and trying to set up a “theocracy.” Let members of the country class object to anything the ruling class says or does, and likely as not their objection will be characterized as “religious,” irrational, not considered on a par with the “science” of which the ruling class is the sole legitimate interpreter. Because aggressive, intolerant secularism is the moral and intellectual basis of the ruling class’s claim to rule, resistance to that rule, whether to the immorality of economic subsidies and privileges, or to the violation of the principle of equal treatment under equal law, or to its seizure of children’s education, must deal with secularism’s intellectual and moral core. This lies beyond the boundaries of politics as the term is commonly understood.

My point is that the country class must “get real” about what it will take to return this country to its origins, to the place where everybody – including the current ruling class – stands on equal footing once more. I believe it can be done, but I don’t believe it will be easy and I don’t believe most of the country class, including myself, has a clear notion of how to go about it.

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