“Stop aiding Soviet fascism [in America].”
An exchange with a Republican delegate observed on Facebook today, July 15, 2016:*
Melanie Sturm to Tom Krannawitter
Professor Krannawitter, I’m interested in your historian’s view on the #FreeTheDelegates movement that is gaining momentum.
Should delegates in Cleveland overturn the democratic primary process by selecting someone other than Donald Trump, is there justification? Are there historical precedents for such “anti-democratic” behavior in America?
I’m at my son’s baseball tournament, Ms. Melanie Sturm, so I have to be brief.
Bottom line: It’s hard to imagine a brand with less credibility than “Republican.”
Suppose the convention ditches Trump for some “conservative.” Maybe a Ted Cruz. Or pick any other.
Would such a move attract the vote of one liberal or one Democrat?
Would such a move cause millions of registered Republicans who voted for Trump in the primaries to ditch the Republican Party?
I don’t think most Republicans realize how close their party is to evaporating politically and disappearing forever. But reflecting on the questions posed above help illuminate that reality.
The Republican Party today really has become what the Whig Party was in the 1850s: It stands for nothing except being a power-hungry opposition to the Democratic Party.
If one doubts this, just consider: Pick any issue, and one finds prominent Republicans on both sides — big gov’t, small gov’t, pro private property, plunderers of private property, pro-independent regulatory agencies, anti-regulatory agencies, high tariffs, low tariffs, pro free trade, anti free trade, pro-Constitution, no idea what the Constitution is or means, etc, etc, etc.
In principle, that is identical to the Whig Party as it became increasingly irrelevant to the most pressing problems of the day.
I get your disfavor of the Republican Party and share it, alas. But do we delegates (and I am one) throw our hands up in surrender?
With such a weak and dangerous democrat nominee, isn’t there an urgency to save the nation from President Hillary, thereby starting the process of reviving the Republican party by nominating someone who is willing and able to defend the principles (especially equality under the law) upon which it was founded? Wouldn’t Abraham Lincoln want that?
If conscience-voting delegates can replace Trump with someone whose character and governing experience contrasts with Clinton, isn’t that the first step on the road to reviving the party? Someone who could attract voters who say she is untrustworthy and who are repelled by her banana republic-like monitizing of public service? Someone who could argue that the American ideal that no one is above the law must prevail in this election?
We are where we are, and there’s no turning back. I infer from your comment that the “party is over,” so it may well not matter what delegates do in Cleveland. But I ran (and won) on a platform to help the Republican Party* recover its bedrock constitutional and economic freedom principles so it can better represent its voters. That’s why I support the #freethedelegates movement and hope we prevail, despite the anticipated backlash to what’s perceived as an anti-democratic and unfair “coup.”
That’s why I’m reaching out to you for some historical perspective (and argumentation) because this convention could be among the nation’s most historic….that’s the goal for which I’m hoping and ?.
Serious question Melanie Sturm: How does what you propose differ from what conservative think tanks, conservative magazines, conservative policy organizations, and the rest of the conservative movement have been doing the last seven decades?
Stated differently: What is the conservative movement? What does conservatism mean? And what is the relationship, if any, between the conservative movement and the Republican Party?
It differs a lot because it’s action, not talk. Nominating someone who can unite (most) of the party and make a compelling case against Clinton and for constitutionalism is very different from the hot air vented by the movement you call “conservative.”
Also, notice I didn’t use the world conservative. It has been sullied and twisted out of all recognition. That’s why I’m using terminology like “equality under the law” because it is widely understood and accepted as an American ideal.
Will someone “unite (most) of the party and make a compelling case against Clinton and for Constitutionalism” with speech? How does that differ from what you call “hot air?”
Further, where are we to find someone who has mastered the ideas of the Founding, the ideas of freedom, and knows how to market those ideas effectively to modern Americans who don’t know about those ideas nor do they think they care?
The “non-hot-air” action would be a vote by the delegates for an open convention and then for a nominee other than trump.
It’s my premise — and you are free to disagree — that 2-term governors like Scott Walker, Nicky Haley or Mitch Daniels would be far better than Trump at uniting the party and making the arguments for freedom and constitutionalism, based on their records (while not perfect).
And yes, I think enough of the general electorate detests Hillary that a quality non-Trump nominee could prevail.
Ms. Melanie Sturm, please help me understand: More votes were cast in Republican primaries for Donald Trump than any other 2016 Republican Presidential candidate.
In fact, I believe Donald Trump received more primary votes than any Republican Presidential candidate ever — in the entire history of the Republican Party, going back to its origins in 1854 and its opposition to the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Trump received something like 13.5 million popular primary votes, if memory serves, a number no Republican has ever matched or exceeded in any primary election for any race, ever.
And you are suggesting that replacing the candidate for whom 13.5 million (mostly) Republicans voted, with a candidate you think is superior (who’s not much different than any run-of-the-mill conservative, whether we use that label or something else), will UNITE the Republican Party?
I truly need help understanding how an un-democratic substitution of a democratically chosen Presidential nominee will unite a political party that has almost no public credibility and is already dissolving.
With the “conscience clause” losing in the Rules committee tonight, this may well be a moot discussion. Also, to be clear, the two options — bind the delegates to Trump or unbind them and let them vote their conscience — both have potential downsides for the party and the nation. You describe the downside to the second, but there’s a potential downside to the first too.
My son is at space camp in Huntsville, Alabama where the running joke is: “If Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are in a fatal car accident, who lives? Answer: America.” According to a new AP/Gfk poll, eight of ten Americans don’t merely prefer one candidate to another, they are actually scared of one or both of the candidates.
But to answer your points, while it’s true that Trump got a record 13.4 million votes in the primary, Hillary got 15.9 million. It’s also true that Trump’s 44% plurality of support by the end of the primaries is the weakest showing of a Republican nominee in modern history — Romney had 52%, McCain 48% and Bush 61%. In other words, in 2016 more votes were cast for someone other than the presumptive nominee than ever before, yet according to the RNC rules, Trump still got a disproportionate 62% of the delegates. The primary system is clearly not working….a subject for another day.
Also, the reason more votes were cast in 2016 in the Republican primaries is because a record number of Democrats voted in them, and because the primary season lasted into May, bringing out more voters in states that were irrelevant in prior election years, like Indiana.
Finally, I’m going to attempt to venture into your wheelhouse: The Founding Fathers rejected the notion of “vox populi, vox dei.” As James Madison wrote in Federalist 10, one advantage of a representative republic over direct democracy is that representation may “refine and enlarge the public views, by passing them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens, whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of their country, and whose patriotism and love of justice will be least likely to sacrifice it to temporary or partial considerations.”
Hence, the duty of a delegate is not simply to reflect public opinion (or be a rubber stamp on a beauty contest), but to find a way to “refine and enlarge” it, by aggregating the diverse views of the people into a final judgment that serves their interests better.
So according to Madison, the delegates are within their rights — indeed have the moral obligation — to nominate someone who they think can win in November, which is afterall the real role of the convention.
What I’m suggesting is that allowing the delegates to vote their conscience is not only honorable, it’s consistent with our founding values. If delegates think Trump is the right choice, they can still vote for him and should he win a majority, he has all the more legitimacy. But if they do not think he’s the right choice, they should not feel morally bound to vote for him. The delegates responsibility above all else is to the well being of the Republican party, and having a viable Republican party as a counterpoint to the Democrat party is in the national interest.
There’s much to be said in response to your comment, Melanie Sturm. But rest assured, in Federalist #10 Mr. Madison most certainly was not talking about delegates of a private organization to its national private convention.*
Also, one ought to read #10 as well as all the early essays in light of the later essays in The Federalist Papers — which is where one finds the gritty, hard teaching of self government. Based on what Madison argues in #57 alone — regarding citizens who allow their chosen agents in government to pass laws that apply to citizens while exempting the agents in government — Americans are no longer suited for the experiment of mixing freedom and self government.
The Federalist Papers were written for a people who had a century and a half of personal experience living and dying by the own efforts, without any parental or nanny or shepherd or “leader” figure around to offer (allegedly) free stuff.
Our situation today is strikingly different. Which is why we must think, speak, write, and act differently if freedom is to have a future in the United States of America.
In this case, the teacher who provides the most illumination is not Madison. It’s Tocqueville.
Tocqueville predicted with incredible prescience exactly what would happen in the modern hyper-Christian-egalitarian-democratic world when claims of superior wisdom bump up against the irresistible, relentless, flattening heavy presses of “democracy.”
I respect your scholar’s take Tom Krannawitter on the trends that brought us to this moment, and your disdain for the consequence – a hollowed-out Republican Party. I share your frustrations and have catalogued them over the years in my Think Again column.
I think it’s remarkable — and a commentary on our dramatically unsettled electorate — that such an outsider and Republican Party critic is a national delegate to the party’s convention where I also won election as a committee member.
Now I’m struggling with my #1 goal: how best to avert a Hillary Clinton presidency, which would accelerate the lamentable “fundamental transformation” of America, chiefly by proving that Americans no longer uphold the tenet of equality under the law.
Giving Americans a better choice than the even more disfavored Trump – recognizing all the downsides of replacing him at the convention after a vote of no-confidence — is one way to avoid the “Clinton Crime Family” back in the White House.
I thank you for this dialogue, which has been instructive to me.
Melanie Sturm, to be clear: Hillary Clinton is a deeply immoral, wicked human being.
Even worse: her pathologies are not confined to the personal sphere, and she’s no petty criminal. When she harasses others, controls others, works to make the lives of others worse, steals, lies, or ignores people who desperately need her help, she does all of that by using government’s monopoly on legalized force.
The very thing that is supposed to keep people safe and protect persons and private property — government! — Hillary Clinton uses to harm persons and steal personal property.
Which is worse: A man who sexually harasses and abuses and possibly rapes women? Or the woman who protects that man by destroying the lives of those victims — using every government power, formal and informal, at her disposal! — simply so she can continue her own political ambition of controlling other human beings?
I don’t know the answer. I know only that they’re both very bad.
I, however, do not view Hillary Clinton as the beginning or cause of a new bad trend in the United States. I see Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and other prominent American socialists as a symptom of the political pathology originally called “progressivism” that emerged from American colleges, universities, and churches more than a century ago. A small number of academic and theological experts offered to give people free stuff in exchange for total control over their lives, and many of the people accepted the offer. That’s how FDR came to be elected President not once, not twice, not three times, but four times.
So this process has been at work for a long time now. It’s fruits are the millions of citizens who think themselves to be sophisticated if they can provide additional justifications to demand more government power and regulatory control over our lives. The result of progressivism is an American population who believe firmly that only increased government supervision of our lives follows any discussion of education, health care, medicine, technology, poverty, the environment, guns, or even government corruption and cronyism.
Think about it: Even when the subject is government officials taking bribes and accepting crony deals to help some Americans by hurting others, what’s the American response? Further government restrictions on what citizens may say and how citizens may spend their own money — rather than criminalizing the immoral, unjust actions of those in government!
We have much work to do. If you can keep Hillary Clinton from the levers of government power, I’m sure the gods of freedom will smile on you for your effort. At the same time, Hillary Clinton is neither the beginning nor the end of the American tragedy of free people freely choosing to give away their freedom.
And if my teaching has any influence, that tragedy will be dramatically interrupted by a great freedom revival. That is my goal.
This might be the end of the Republican Party.
And let us remind ourselves of two important facts:
A political party is a wholly private organization. A party is no part of the Constitutional design of government, nor does a party have any constitutional standing.*
Also, if this be the demise of the Republican Party, and if that demise involves Mr. Donald Trump, then it also involves the more than thirteen million Americans who voted for him in primaries.
I understand there was much crossover voting. I get that. Still, many Republicans voted for Trump. Many. And why did they do so? Look to the Republican Party ever since the New Deal and the history of the conservative movement during the same time period, and there you’ll start to find answers.
* Italics mine.
Check out my new app! FoodieFinder
Republicans who think the Leftist backlash against Trump is personal to Trump have paid too much attention to the Left’s rhetoric, and not enough attention to their actions over the last couple decades.
In the words of Elvis Costello, Trump is “This Year’s Model.” The Leftist freakout (see: https://www.facebook.com/events/637030473110590/ ) would be every bit as damaging were it inspired by any other “presumptive” Republican candidate. The specific hyperbolic form of attack would be fine tuned to fit whatever another candidate exposed, but the degree of hyperbole, and the projected violence of the attack, would be the same.
This is true because all of the Leftist attacks resolve to the Leftist agenda. The end points never change regardless of the motivating circumstances or the motivating persons that get cast into the nexus of Leftist umbrage.
The Left will create conflict, even where none exists, because without a compelling argument, they must fabricate a change agent to color themselves as some sort of response and solution.
So, Republicans who think an accommodation to the Left will buy them some peace, are flat wrong. They might as well try to mollify Islam. Oh wait, ….
TAMMY BRUCE: Anti-Trump rallies funded by the left
From Chicago to Albuquerque to San Diego, and now last week’s obscene riot in San Jose, California, Americans and the world saw supporters of the liberal agenda violently target Trump supporters, peacefully trying to attend a rally, as though they were prey. Make no mistake – these supposed anti-Trump riots are not organic nor are they… [Read more…]
So, U.S. market futures will rebound today. The 24/7 news business will run an UP narrative day. There will be more smiles and optimism as history and predictions all reflect a more sunny outlook. To contrast, the DOWN narrative soul searching of the last couple days was so serious and gloomy.
The long term predictive value for future behavior, and the information potential to explain history, in daily market swings, is minimal – analogous to the determinative potential that a few grains of sand have to shape the beach. Sure, there’s an effect, but let’s not read too much into it.
Under the determinist Marxist norm, news is never in short supply – all history and all future events are knowable because human behavior is determined by causes that Marxists control. The consequences that can be deterministically hypothesized from any given event are limited only by the Marxist’s imagination. And they’re very imaginative.
The practicing Marxist sees a stimulus and says people will line up with a determined response. Except when they don’t – like what happened last week when a majority of British defied the predictions, defied those wagering on the outcome, and went the other way. But anomalies in human behavior from the determined proper outcome don’t really penetrate the Marxist’s vision.
They just regroup and start marching to force the outcome their determinism had predicted should occur. Because of course they’re right. That’s always beyond question. And they don’t hesitate for a moment to write laws, statutes, zoning codes, and plans to enforce their unquestionable visions.
In sum, the Marxist system is basically, things will happen their way, because if they don’t, they’ll make sure they do. That’s the nature of totalitarianism. They control the outcome.
But Marxism is a completely unrealistic model for human action. Left alone, in their self interest, people will adapt and create incredible inventions and behaviors, unforeseen and unanticipated by the totalitarians.
The practicing Marxist preempts a lot of potential value from accumulating in our lives in the pursuit of their totalitarian power. People who must live under the practicing Marxist lose value, lose empowerment, lose their livelihoods, and often lose their lives. Yet they seem to keep signing up for more totalitarianism.
Except on those rare occasions when they don’t!
Hopefully, on this election day in Elbert County, the totalitarian planners will get to experience a bit of British individualism.
Mr. Singh, UK, of Facebook’s “River Entertainment” produced the following propaganda analysis of another Facebook page’s – “NOWTHIS” – video.
America owes him thanks.
Useful Republican quislings are missing the big picture – the big TV picture that is – coming to screens everywhere a month from now. The lead stories will be the Cleveland riots, and the betrayed Republican demographics, in that order. The convention will be reported in the worst possible light the media can economically provide, and those lead stories are already scripted and practically in the can. All that remains is to stage the show.
Meanwhile, the Republican quisling intelligencia obsess on their higher purpose of ferreting out the ideal candidate that they somehow overlooked through all of the primary festivities. This is denial on a grand scale – a scale unfortunately matched by the Left, who perpetuate denial about major destructive human behaviors such as abortion, nihilism, socialism, and jihadism.
The Right seem intent on proving to the world an equal capacity for denial in order to compete with the Left, where the Right should be planning to prevent the riot, and affirm their own voting base who’ve already expressed a candidate preference.
Those would actually be bona fide responses to the problem set presented by the Left in this election cycle – responses that could build trust in Republican leadership and expose the poverty of Leftist alternatives.
But Republican leadership has, evidently, already concluded that televising a Republican war zone complete with a rebel faction of betrayed loyalists all over the country would be more in their interest.
One has to wonder if the screenwriters for this fiasco live in Denver. Stay tuned….
Speech controls on political speech about a Republican primary race – more examples of what fuels the Trump phenomenon – i.e. totalitarians.
The Elbert County Citizens message instructing the Citizens not to comment, under the heading encouraging them to share ideas, probably captures the point of this post the best.
“By now, you should have received your mail-in ballot for the Republican primary for Elbert County. We hope you will take the time to fill it out and vote for the candidate of your choice.
We are a group of Elbert County citizens who care deeply that our election process is fair and transparent. While we are not advocating for any candidate in this handout, we do want you to be aware of some things that are important to know as you consider your vote.
All the candidates have some area of vulnerability their opponents would like to expose, sadly we consider that part of our present day political process. Like you, we usually ignore these things.
However. when we see an area where we feel a candidate has not been transparent in their own promotional material, we feel it is important to communicate that with you. In this year’s election, we are happy to report that there is only one area of real concern out of all the candidates.
Grant Thayer, running in the primary for County Commissioner in District 3, has invested a lot of money to win this campaign. He has secured a campaign manager that is negative towards others while being vague about Thayer’s record. This concerns us as you decide how to vote.
Thayer has billed himself as an outsider trying to ride the popular wave against politicians. He is far from an outsider – he runs in circles of people in the county who have tried repeatedly to control county politics and policy. Many of them appear to be his supporters and financiers.
On January 23 of this year, the Elbert County News reported that Thayer had been on the county planning commission for 14 years and was chairman for most of those years.(1) And yet, nowhere is it mentioned in the 14 pages of his website that he was chairman of the planning commission for the majority of the 14 years. He did not even divulge his membership on his “Planning Commission” page nor on his “More About Grant” page.
He sates on his website that: “The Planning Commission is the BOCC and citizens best friend.”(2) If this is true, then it seems strange that he tries to hide his deep involvement in it for 14 years and completely omits that he was chairman. If he is vying for public service, wouldn’t this be an important part of his resume? The transparency may be missing because of the problems we discovered in his record.
A large part of Thayer’s platform is getting a new master plan done. While on his website he acknowledges that the county Master Plan is decades old, he then states: “The Planning Commission is responsible for the preparation and maintenance of the Master Plan.”(3) So why is it decades old if he was chairman for the better part of 14 years?
As part of the planning commission, he approved a water plan for Spring Valley Vista that led to a lawsuit against the county in 2006. The Master plan that was in effect at the time was bypassed by the planning commission and the commissioners.(4) A 2006 article listed Thayer, as a “developer”, planning commission member and sitting on a non-profit corporation with the commissioner who was voting in favor of the failed proposal for Spring Valley Vista. Questions about conflict of interest were raised.(5)
He also advocates cooperation with the county commissioners. Perhaps that is why his work on the planning commission is neglected in his promo material. As chairman of the planning commission, it took Thayer two and a half years to come up with oil and gas regulations that were voted down by the commissioners 2-1 . His response to this obstacle was to promptly resign.(6) If he did not work with those who questioned what he wanted to do just a little over two years ago, what has changed?
But that leads to another deep concern we have about Thayer. While he doesn’t seem to be transparent about his years of deep participation in county politics, he also is elusive about his business connections using political spin to skirt the issue. He flaunts his CEO experience, but is coy about for who and the results.
His site states: “His most recent industry responsibility was as Co-Chief Executive Officer of a firm that purchased a large portfolio of non performing financial assets. The assets included loans to several oil and gas companies that were in default. Within three years, Grant and his associates converted these assets into those that met the investment goals of the firm.”(7)
What firm? Doesn’t say. Assets in default? A takeover? Doesn’t say. Met the investment firms goals? Liquidation? Downsizing? Doesn’t say. Whatever it is, it seems if it is not flattering to Thayer then transparency is missing. That may be how a CEO does it, but not a public servant who represents the people. We are electing someone to represent us, not manage us.
Thank you for voting in the primary and we are proud this year that there are many other great candidates to choose from.”
(1) & (6) http://elbertcountynews.net/stories/Second-Repubican-joins-race-for-commissioner,205742
(2) & (3) http://www.grantthayer4u.com/assembly-position-statements/
Thayer is a planner. I’ve written and blogged dozens of times on this site about the malfeasance of planning and zoning. (http://elbertcounty.net/blog/category/planning/ => index says 140 times!)
My views have not changed.
You have to be a registered Republican to get elected to public office in Elbert County. You don’t have to uphold any ideals normally associated with the party, and an activist minority here loudly prefers that you don’t. Party affiliation in Elbert County tells you about as much as hair color. It’s a non-dispositive attribute.
This greatly complicates matters around election time because the signals that people normally use to read the political landscape aren’t reliable. Candidates have constituencies, but the constituencies don’t know each other and aren’t identified unless they out themselves.
Politics used to be a social affair where people could air their views and engage each other with some expectation of understanding. Political parties aren’t really necessary for that to happen. But if they exist it would be nice if they meant something because the two political parties in America now speak different languages, and they don’t generally understand each other very well.
In Elbert County, however, politics are bifurcated. They are de facto non-party, under a de jure party system. On the one hand, a common party affiliation leads to an expectation of not-wildly-divergent political views, while on the other hand, wildly-divergent political views pop up under the Elbert County Republican rubric all the time.
Moreover, the minority use this confounded landscape as a tactic to ratchet the majority into the minority’s way of doing things. Under the flags of transparency, regulation, and accountability, they use subterfuge, coercion, and harassment. Like rust, the militancy never rests.
Every now and then an activist will carelessly or proudly name-drop a dash of Marx, an Alynsky rule, or a big government maxim. But they rarely get called on it because, after all, who would expect to meet a communist principle in a Republican framework?
When someone has the temerity to challenge their leftism, the shock and dismay that anyone could even think something so dastardly about the little angels comes pouring out in teachable moments of politically correct speech proscriptions. The collectivist problem (in the Republican framework) isn’t relevant, but talking about it is a high crime.
A reasonable person would think communism to be a dead philosophy. Didn’t the Berlin wall come down? Wasn’t the Russian parliament attacked by tanks? But as the Sanders campaign and the Left’s current violence on American streets are showing, communism is alive here. It’s only dead or dying in countries that have actually been governed by it.
Elbert County’s Left never got the memo. And many of them became Republicans.
Will the coming generations cure this political mess in Elbert County? With so much institutionalized denial in local politics, with an activist minority who prefer to operate without criticism under artifice and pretense, and with the young conditioned in school to look first to government for solutions, I expect not.
A return to a functioning two-party system in Elbert County wouldn’t, by itself, fix the negative consequences of subterfuge. We have an ethical deficiency, and that’s a little more difficult to remedy.
The commissioners race has sorted out in Elbert County. Limited-government people support the Richardson/Wills pair. Pro-government-action people support the Whistler/Thayer pair.
I haven’t seen any exceptions to this sort.
The ballots are out, and the county, at-large, gets to vote on all commissioner districts, notwithstanding in which commissioner district a voter resides.
This is all on the Republican primary ticket, which effectively constitutes a general election in Elbert County.
The limited-government cohort seem quite willing to discuss issues and philosophies. The pro-government-action cohort, not so much. They express discomfort with rebuttals to their belief system in a variety of collateral ways that shut down further discussion – crybullying, shunning, mau mauing, innuendo, and various character assassinations.
The pro-government-action people seem conflicted and upset at having to defend their chosen positions. I expect that they learned their positions when they were young, and instead of moving on in adulthood, they found a political home that liked them just the way they were.
I know that the above analysis will infuriate the pro-government-action people, and I take no pleasure in having to deliver the message. But tantrums are no way to run a county. It’s past time mature voters stood up to the crybullies.
The primary election looms large in the window, also known as the general election in one-party Elbert County. Along with the wild flowers, commissioner candidate sales pitches are in full throated bloom.
Some of the selling centers on constitutional fundamentals, statesmanship, limited government – the conservative basket of principles. This language sounds so tautologically wonderful, airtight, and it really appeals to students of history and traditional idealists.
Other selling focusses more on modern management methods and the myth that the most desirable future is already known today, so plans must be written into law to force Elbert County citizens to comply with the Vision.
Still other selling advises we shuck all that highbrow theoretical buncombe and take a flyer on someone unconventional because, well, just because it might be better that way.
None of it will pan out, because none of it has ever panned out, and it’s all been done many times before. Politics is an art of make-believe practiced one step ahead of the voting rubes. Some parties practice politics one step ahead of the law too, but since politicians can change laws, this usually doesn’t present much of a problem.
History’s rule book tells us that laws, statutes, codifications, master plans, and judicial opinions, rarely get repealed or overturned, despite how poorly they anticipate future human behavior, or how much they end up costing. Politicians and judges rarely get impeached, despite poor decisions made. Ministerial immunity rarely gets penetrated, despite negligent and reckless actions. And statesmanship founded in principles enumerated in the Declaration of Independence rarely compels behavior in the face of exigent pragmatic considerations.
Candidate “puffing” – sales pitches – make bubbles that will burst. More puffing means bigger bubbles, but they all burst in time.
Those who voted for the plan will discover that the plan didn’t work. Those who voted for the principles will look long and hard to find any evidence of them in practice. Those who voted for change will discover the same old thing. Those who voted for the entitlements will discover that it wasn’t nearly enough to alleviate their needs. Those who voted for limiting government will discover that the corrupting influence of power proved too much for any man to resist.
The systemic problems we add to the complexity of life by propagating this pointless political overhead suck the life out of our society, to no good end. The only rational response to it all is to not further enable it.
Please, commissioner candidates, don’t do us any favors. Don’t promise to make plans for us, be they masterful or otherwise. Your predecessors have made too much mess with plans for us already. Don’t promise to make Elbert County more effective so it can collect more taxes and haul in more revenue from the citizens. We citizens already think government hauls in too much from us. Don’t promise to get along with each other so that the commission can agree on doing more to the citizens of Elbert County. We don’t want you to do more. We want you to do less to us. Don’t promise us more government. We want less government – the exact opposite of what most of you were promising.
As true today as in 1849 when first penned, “That government is best which governs least…”, Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience.
After viewing the Youtube vids from the multi-party commissioner candidate forum the other night, with all of the promises, plans, accusations, and elucidations, you’re all courting power, evidently imagining yourselves qualified to dictate to other people indistinguishable from yourselves.
I can imagine who told you this is what Elbert County needs and wants – the usual pro-planning, pro-government, country-in-county, NIMBY, something-for-nothing, folks who publish our local fishwraps, who think grant money is the route to profitability, who work daily to keep Elbert County stuck in the last century.
Elbert County is beautiful. But it’s also a wasteland with no viable economy and no affordable means for people to make a contribution to the modern world. That’s the legacy I heard most of you promise to uphold the other night.
Surely Elbert County could do more for the modern world than be a bedroom community for public employees, retired and punching coupons, or still employed by a public agency of some sort. In most other parts of the world, people actually have to make a contribution to society to survive.
I’m waiting for one of you commissioner candidates to promise to not sustain the Potemkin Village of Elbert County.
“Often contradictory in his views on atheism and religion, Rousseau nevertheless was certain of one thing: that the State should be the final arbiter of the human condition, in the name of something he called the General Will. Only the State, he thought, could make postlapsarian man well again. One can practically smell the fascism coming off his pages, all in the name of compassion, of course. No wonder his more perceptive contemporaries, including Voltaire, considered him a monster.
Many others, however, were greatly influenced by him, including most of the great monsters of the twentieth century. Without Rousseau, Marx is unthinkable; without Marx, Lenin is unthinkable; without Lenin, Stalin is unthinkable, without Stalin, Mao is unthinkable; without Mao, Ho Chi Minh and Pol Pot are unthinkable.”
Michael Walsh, “The Devil’s Pleasure Palace,” 2015, p. 137-8.
I don’t see the malice in Trump that so many on both the Right and Left keep spinning up. Can Trump undo some of the damage to America that Obama committed? That’s the hope, though it’s probably too much to expect from one man. But meanwhile, the Left continue to promote malice to some under the excuse of favoritism to others. Sure, higher standards exist for choosing a President, but if frogs could fly they wouldn’t bump their asses hopping on the ground.