On Not Getting It

whatyoudontknowUnpopular writers have two choices: quit, and be accused by one’s enemies and critics of having no answer, of having acknowledged “defeat”; or keep writing and be accused of obsession, logorrhea, and repetition. Since we know we’re damned either way, we stubborn men choose the latter.

I’m going to single out two persistent responders—Damon Linker and Peter Spiliakos—to one of my core arguments. Others have made the same objection and all that follows applies to them as well. These two are useful stand-ins, though, because one of them self-identifies as “left,” the other as “right.” Yet they fully agree on this core issue, which helps to make my deeper point.

The issue is the basis for popular rule, for the sovereignty of the people. I have asserted that the 2016 election offers a chance—in my view, the last chance—for this principle to be reasserted over an American government that is controlled by a bipartisan oligarchy by means of administrative rule.

Linker and Spiliakos agree that I am wrong because no politician ever speaks for the whole people, as evidenced by the fact that no politician ever gets 100 percent of the vote. This is surely an odd standard to hold, since it’s almost axiomatic in politics that the more lopsided the vote—whether fair (Camden, New Jersey; San Francisco, California) or fake (Warsaw Pact plebiscites)—the worse the governance. One hallmark of successful democratic government is real competition; i.e., the regular alternation of the levers of power among people of competing factions.

A Shameful Banana-Republic Distinction

Is that what we have in America now? Probably both Linker and Spiliakos would say “yes,” at which I can only laugh.

It is now clear in hindsight that, before 2016, the country hadn’t faced a real choice since 1980. The parties may have alternated but the policies have not. Even worse—in-your-face glaring—we now face the sordid prospect of the presidency literally being controlled by the same two families for 28 out of 36 years. If you don’t find that banana-republic distinction embarrassing—if it doesn’t make you frankly ashamed of what your country has sunk to—then there is nothing I or anyone could write that might open your eyes.

Both are apparently confused by the distinction between “the people” understood on the one hand as “the many” or demos and on the other as “the whole people.” In the former sense, the people are a party—and typically the base of a formal party. In the American context, that used to be emphatically the Democrats. Trump has shaken that up, divided the demos, and won a large portion of it over to the Republicans—or at least to himself, since the Republicans seem determined to discard these voters at the earliest opportunity.

“The people” in this sense are always but a part of the polity. Since they are its most numerous part, their claim to a say in how they are governed is strong—only slightly less strong than the claim of superior wisdom. Still, a government based solely on popular rule will be unstable and short-lived. One that repeatedly ignores and even sells out the demos’s wishes and interests is, to that extent, bad, unjust and unwise. And also, eventually, unstable, as we are seeing.

Whose Unanimity?

The original solution, which the American Founders tried to implement in vastly differing circumstances, is to “mix” the government so that each side exercises a measure of rule. The whole people—and no one else—are sovereign. But it is understood from the beginning that elemental partisan differences will never go away. The demos is not “the whole people” and to the extent that the former rules unchecked, the latter’s rights are unprotected. But somehow the whole people, to remain sovereign—for self-government to mean anything—must retain the ability to change the direction of their government. As a practical matter, that will always result in division, whether 60-40 landslide or 51-49 nail-biter.

If the acid-test of legitimacy is to be unanimity, then no government will ever be legitimate—except perhaps North Korea. Whose unanimity, I need hardly add, is entirely forced. This can’t be what Linker and Spiliakos mean. But then what do they mean? The Founders’ view—that a legitimate government heeds majority will while protecting minority rights—appears to be too radical for them. All they care about the result of the latest election. 50.1 percent? Good enough! Trample minority rights and constitutional provisions in the process? But we won! Objections are illegitimate once “the voters”—as distinct from the people—have spoken.

Linker tries to trace my argument to Rousseau. In so doing, he implicitly compares Trump to Rousseau’s lawgiver, who sees that “the people can be wrong about the character and content of the general will” and who therefore “make[s] that determination on behalf of the people as a whole.”

Really. Does that sound remotely like what’s happening in 2016? What I see is a people—a majority—who for 30 years has not wanted mass immigration or open trade, and who for at least a decade has been tired of endless, pointless, winless war. Still they get more of it because no matter who they vote for, that’s what the recipient of those votes does. This is “democratic” to the extent that voting still takes place, but if those votes decide nothing—not even majority will—what difference does that make? Right now, Trump may be embodying majority will—because, to say the least, no one else in the political process has—but he is far from determining it. He’s riding a wave. He may yet wipe out.

But let’s also be honest about why. Yes, yes—to some large extent it will be because of Trump’s own faults and mistakes. But let’s not discount the permanent 50,000 thumbs on the scale: the corrupt, partisan media; corrupt, partisan academia which has been brainwashing the professional and intellectual classes for 50 years; a corrupt, partisan intellectual class that sets the terms of every debate in ways that favor the ruling class and demonizes dissent; every commanding height of the popular, middlebrow and high culture; the ceaseless importation of foreign, ringer voters to overwhelm the votes and will of natural born citizens; and when all this fails, stuff ballots in blue cities in purple states. How many votes—how many percentage points—is all that worth? Whatever, all of it accrues to only one side: to Linker’s, not Spiliakos’. Yet still they make common cause.

What Elections Are For

It’s absurd for Linker and Spiliakos alike to accept this as legitimate or “fair.” A politics this rigged is in no wise a representation of the will of the people. Linker pretends it is for obvious reasons: his side always wins. What’s Spiliakos’ excuse?

Opposition to the oligarchy begins at its own 10-yard line, after no kickoff, and two touchdowns in the hole that the other side did not legitimately score. When we inevitably lose, Linker says: the score is the score. Too bad. Spiliakos says: We’ll just have to up our game. When told that next time we’ll start on the five, three touchdowns behind, he says: we’ll just have to up it further. Meanwhile Linker is on the sidelines gloating over the standings. After the next loss, Spiliakos classily walks over to shake Linker’s hand, who magnanimously accepts. Over and over. Ad nauseam.

What I have tried to explain is that, in the American context, legitimacy arises not from unanimity or even from a majority, but from a fair, constitutional process that allows the people to decide their fate politically. That allows them to have an argument, disagree, divide, vote, and come back together to decide how best to go forward, with both sides accepting that—for the time being—one side will have control of the government. But limited control, limited by express constitutional prohibitions.

We don’t have that now. We have massively unbalanced “elections” that are mere tools for ratifying and legitimizing the rule of an oligarchical, administrative state. To return to perhaps the most salient point: the American people don’t want, and haven’t wanted for some time, more immigration or freer trade. They’re going to get them, though, whatever they say they want.

Majoritarians to the Left of Me, Plebiscitarians to the Right…

The American regime, which was designed to allow the people to change their government’s direction via voting, no longer functions as designed. For Linker explicitly and Spiliakos implicitly, that the people have not voted to enact change is ipso facto proof that they wanted this, or at least deserve it. Whether they understand themselves to be or not, they are simple majoritarians—plebiscitarians.

I draw a different lesson from the “bluing” of America’s great cities, states, and increasingly the country as a whole. It was done deliberately to make voting more of a formality and less of a contingency.

The understanding of government I have sketched traces back to Aristotle and was fully shared by the American Founders. That Linker (“Left”) and Spiliakos (“Right”) don’t understand it, insist the Founders could not have believed it (or if they did, that only proves how benighted they were), and think I am insane for holding it just shows how close today are “left” and “right,” and how far apart I am from both.

About Publius Decius Mus

Publius Decius Mus, or “Decius,” is the pen name of Michael Anton. He was a senior contributing editor of American Greatness from July 2016 until January 2017. He currently serves as deputy assistant to the president for strategic communications on the National Security Council.

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79 responses to “On Not Getting It”

  1. Publius, you are correct in addressing the sentiments of those two. However, what I find missing from you and would like to hear is your prescription for correcting this manipulation of the electoral process and the complete disregard for the “will” of the people.

    For me, the largest missing ingredient, sans a better educated public, is a complete lack of enforcement of law. We do not need more laws. We need enforcement of current laws, especially when it comes to our leaders and the “elites” who think they are better than the people and “above the law.”

    That DC reeks with lawyers, mostly scumbags in my opinion, and yet no laws are upheld, or anyone prosecuted for their outrageous actions or outright criminal deeds, is beyond the pale. That no one can hold the Executive accountable for their traitorous actions, really, just how does someone come up with so much cash to send to the Iranians as payoff for getting our Sailors back? No oversight? Lies?

    And people like Holder, Comey, Lo-retta, Lerner, et al., should be in jail and facing prosecution. And the Clintons … the Foundation, the Global Initiative, Benghazi, Haiti Rescue, Uranium, Crony Corporate favors, and my old favorite going back to Monica … the President abusing his office and sexually abusing a young femail employee against all Federal Law on the books for manager/employee relations?

    The law needs to be re-instituted. It does not exist and our country has declined in direct proportion to this failure. All the friggin lawyers in the land and they don’t mean a hill of beans except for how to play the system and institutionalize corruption.

    • Decius seems to have been crystal clear. This election either is won or we further descend into tyranny and the eventual revolt against it. People need to take a deep breath and come to terms with the fact that a Clinton election will mark the death of the republic. Tens of millions of us no longer will participate in what we rightfully consider to be an illegitimate oligarchy and meaningless elections if Trump loses.

      • I was simply asking for a prescription for corrective action given Trump “wins.” I agree that should The Vagina win, all bets are off. But as for America, she is already lost and has been for some time now. What follows a Trump win will be the establishment of America II, for better or for worse.

      • The only answer is a better-educated public, a high bar indeed. Personally, I’d start by defunding humanities departments across the land and cut off any university that endorses “safe spaces” or allows campus speakers to be banned.

      • First, my chief disagreement with your first post is in the area of enforcement. Before we begin vigorous enforcement of existing law, or at least simultaneously, we ought to take a step back and consider the maxim that “if you want the law respected, you must first make the law respectable,” and the Great Mark Steyn’s remark that “it isn’t wrong because it’s illegal, it’s illegal because it’s wrong.”

        I suspect that 75% of our entire legal code could be swept away tomorrow with no ill effect; and that if our society was still composed as it was prior to 1965, that number could be 95%.

        Second, I’m giving you free upvotes where I see your posts because I just dig your icon and name. Very amusing and brings back memories.

      • I do not think we are disagreeing about much then. Mark Stein is correct. Way too many laws made by buffoons who know nothing and only act on behalf of special interests. I also like the saying about “Just because there is a law does not make it right.”

        Also, Louis D. Brandeis said “Our government … teaches the whole people by its example. If the government becomes the lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for the law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy.”

        Our government…
        teaches the whole people by its example. If the government becomes the
        lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a
        law unto himself; it invites anarchy.
        Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/law_2.html?SPvm=1&vm=l
        Our government…
        teaches the whole people by its example. If the government becomes the
        lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a
        law unto himself; it invites anarchy.
        Louis D. Brandeis
        Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/law_2.html?SPvm=1&vm=l
        Our government…
        teaches the whole people by its example. If the government becomes the
        lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a
        law unto himself; it invites anarchy.
        Louis D. Brandeis
        Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/law_2.html?SPvm=1&vm=l
        Our government…
        teaches the whole people by its example. If the government becomes the
        lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a
        law unto himself; it invites anarchy.
        Louis D. Brandeis
        Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/law_2.html?SPvm=1&vm=l
        Our government…
        teaches the whole people by its example. If the government becomes the
        lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a
        law unto himself; it invites anarchy.
        Louis D. Brandeis
        Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/law_2.html?SPvm=1&vm=l
        Our government…
        teaches the whole people by its example. If the government becomes the
        lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a
        law unto himself; it invites anarchy.
        Louis D. Brandeis
        Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/law_2.html?SPvm=1&vm=l

  2. The Decian thesis, if I may call it that, is in his own words this:

    “The issue is the basis for popular rule, for the sovereignty of the people. I have asserted that the 2016 election offers a chance—in my view, the last chance—for this principle to be reasserted over an American government that is controlled by a bipartisan oligarchy by means of administrative rule.”

    I urge Decius to see with clear eyes that the founding era one where “the establishment” controlled the levers of the federal government it created. Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, Adams and Madison — they were all in one form or another the elites of their day. As were many of the other men we think of as founders.

    There has never been a time in our history, with the exception of the Civil War era, when there was NOT a bipartisan oligarchy that controlled the federal government. The new development, which Decius rightly laments, is the reconstitution of the federal government as an administrative state, though scholars in this field need to do a much better job of unpacking the meaning of the administrative state than the flaccid meaning they have given it. But that’s another discussion for another day.

    Where Decius has gone awry with his “last chance” thesis is that the last chance to defrock the administrative state occurred 80 years ago, when we had the chance to put an end to the New Deal before it metastasized into much worse 30 years later manifested itself.

    The American people have grown accustomed to federal agencies which regulate our lives and which provide health and welfare programs from cradle to grave. There is no putting the jeannie back in the founding bottle. What Decius laments as being at the precipice of being lost was lost a long, long time ago. Neither one of the two candidates for potus proposes even the tiniest dent in the administrative state armor. We are ruled by an oligarchy, as we have been for most of our nation’s history; and we are ruled under an administrative state, as we have been for the last century.

    • There has never been a time in our history, with the exception of the
      Civil War era, when there was NOT a bipartisan oligarchy that controlled
      the federal government.

      Nonsense. For most of our history the “elite” has been sharply divided within itself. After the Revolution there were the Federalists vs the Anti-Federalists. After the Constitution was adapted the elite divided into competing factions, the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans, giving us the origin of the two party system. There was real animosity between these groups, and the split was “vertical” – each elite group had its supporters among the lower classes. Then there was the division resulting in the Civil War. From about 1870 to 1990 there were genuine differences between the two parties, differences only temporarily put on hold for such major events as WWII. The GOP of the 1980’s and the Democratic party of that decade had little in common with one another, even at the “elite” level.

      What we see today in America is a historical anomaly.. The entire upper-class as a body has settled on the same set of policies as being the only acceptable ones, while the lower classes dislike those policies intensely. This is a horizontal split in the America people of the sort we normally associate with Third World countries.

      • If one has any awareness of American history, at least since the earliest days of the second Constitution, one would know that a bipartisan oligarchy — which we can call “the establishment” — has ruled American politics. This is not a “defense” of oligarchy, but an appreciation of the known and easily verified historical reality. The “establishment” has taken on different shapes and forms since the 1790s but there has always been an establishment, an elite or an oligarchy if you like, of some kind with its power base in New York City (and other commercial capitals) but not limited to New York City. The Hollywood elites have bought power for themselves in recent decades. Others as well.

        These elites, whether back in the early 1800s or today, have historically had an outsized political role compared to the more numerous middle and lower classes. Any attempt to deny this would be sheer lunacy.

        What Decius is attempting to argue that today’s oligarchy is materially different than the oligarchy of the 1850s, the 1890s, the 1920s or the 1980s. But he provides only his conclusion as its own proof. We know without any question whatsoever the unholy oligarchy of the New York bankers and the slaveholding class in the 1850s, the oil, steel, railroad and bank barons of the 1890s, the bank and land development chieftains of the 1920s and the bank (the banks are always at the center of the oligarchy), hedge fund managers, tobacco and oil men of the 1980s. Many overstate the evils of these oligarchs but the point here is that we’ve had an oligarchy of special interests since the earliest days of the republic.

        There has never been a golden age where Americans were free from the power of oligarchs.

        One could have elected a Democrat or a Republican as president throughout most of the 19th and 20th centuries and seen only minor differences between how they governed. Was TR all that different from Wilson? Hoover from FDR? Truman from Ike? Was Nixon really all that different from LBJ? Bush 41 all that different from Bill Clinton? W all that different from Obama? Anyone who knows history knows the answer is no. The one outlier in the 20th century was Reagan v Carter, where the difference between the two was profound and the world will forever be a better place because the American people chose wisely in 1980. But even then Reagan did nothing to tear down the wall of the administrative state and left behind a robust welfare state.

        Lincoln is one of the few other outliers in this regard. The material and profound difference between Lincoln and Douglas cannot possibly be overstated. (The nearly identical political philosophy of Douglas to Trump, though it would be an insult to the intellect of Douglas to compare him to Trump, is conveniently ignored by Jaffa’s students. See Jaffa’s brilliant “Crisis of the House Divided”, which is readily available through Amazon.) It’s outside the scope of this thread to explain why this is no, but the point here is that very few presidents presented a genuinely radical alternative to his defeated principal opponent. Not substantive, as there are always substantive differences between the two parties, but a radical alternative between the two main party nominees.

        Hysterical claims, such as “There won’t be any country called the United States of America if Clinton wins and Trump loses.” should be discouraged. Trump will lose, and at this point a landslide defeat for Trump is a near certainty, but somehow a country called “The United States of America” will endure the torture Hillary will put us through — which we could have easily avoided had we not nominated Trump. The genius of the political architecture the founders erected is that it can and has survived a civil war and a great depression and a cold war and Vietnam as well as Watergate, threats to the republic far greater than anything even Hillary could dream up. She will strain the system, as Obama has — and as Trump would as well — but we’ll get through it. Why? Because patriots like you, deluded though you may about Trump’s alleged “greatness”, love your country and will not let it go the way of Venezuela or Greece. There are millions of patriotic Americans like you who will lick your wounds, realize in hindsight the insanity of supporting Trump and will not tolerate the abuses you believe, rightly so, she would like to impose on us.

        What you have proposed, in supporting Trump, is supporting an autocrat. Autocrats are fine in theory but in reality absolute power always corrupts.

        As for your last point about my “obsession”, I only make the point that the war against the administrative state was lost a long, long time ago — if it was a war that was ever actually fought. I’ll keep today’s history lesson short: in the early 1900s (actually, beginning in the 1890s) a series of “progressive reforms” were enacted by Congress and the President that empowered newly created federal agencies to regulate various aspects of private enterprise as well as adding several new amendments to the Constitution that are still controversial among some today. Those agencies are still here today, plus many more created over the ensuing decades, such as the US EPA and a very large swath of health, labor, workplace and environmental laws enacted at the federal and state level. In the 1930s Congress and FDR created Social Security. In the 1960s Congress and the President created Medicare. Their work by no means ended in the 1960s.

        Today we have a massive administrative state and an entitlement state that has been created and significantly expanded by both Republicans and Democrats over the last century. This is not a pejorative statement but a statement of undeniable historical fact.

        To suggest that anyone today, such as Trump, poses a serious threat to the administrative and entitlement states is evidence of delusion. I challenge Decius or anyone else to show me the list of federal agencies that Trump has pledged to abolish, the federal programs that Trump has pledged to abolish or the federal entitlements that Trump has pledged to abolish. It can’t be done because Trump has never pledged to scale back in any way the administrative or entitlement states. It is a matter of undeniable fact that Trump has pledged neither.

        What Trump’s supporters are guilty of is projecting their own beliefs to the empty vessel of Donald J. Trump, a man about whom we are constantly told does not believe what he claims to believe, so we must therefore trust him because his instincts are right. Believe what you want to believe, but the man is a creature of the administrative state (but not the entitlement state, to be fair) and the last thing he would ever do is take down the edifice that created and enriched him.

      • If one has any awareness of American history, at least since the
        earliest days of the second Constitution, one would know that a
        bipartisan oligarchy — which we can call “the establishment” — has
        ruled American politics.

        Repeating your already refuted statements does not somehow magically make them true. The notion that Jefferson and Adams constituted a “bipartisan oligarchy” is preposterous, as is the notion that Robert Taft and FDR were both representatives of a “bipartisan oligarchy”. The same goes for Reagan and Mondale. For almost its entire existence the US has had two parties which have had sharp differences on both domestic and foreign policy. That is no longer the case today, and it’s both anomalous (and, my side would argue) deeply troubling that it’s no longer the case.

      • You have not refuted anything, but only repeated the conclusion you cling to despite the overwhelming body of facts that speak against you.

        To suggest that there was no “establishment of power” in the early days of the republic is to deny the wealth and power of Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Wilson and many others had in the founding of this (still great, after all these years) nation. Not for a moment am I suggesting that there’s anything wrong with wealthy, powerful men founding the republic — and I hold that without such men the founding of the republic would have been impossible — but denying that the founders were generally, and perhaps universally, wealthy and powerful men is conclusive evidence of deluded ignorance.

        Powerful slaveholders and financiers ruled the republic well into the middle of the 19th century. No doubt you’ve heard the term “The Gilded Age” of the last quarter or so of the 19th century.

        Again, please do not take observations irrefutable historical facts in any way as an indictment of the republic. We simply start with historical facts in constructing the argument that the creation of an “establishment” which controls the levers of power is in no way a recent development.

        The differences between the two main political parties are real and no one is attempting to dismiss them. The point here is that there has been a continuous establishment of power — “establishment of power” is a more useful way to think about it than the flabby term “the establishment” — between the two main parties, except during the notable exception of the Civil War era, for most of the republic. Republicans and Democrats together allowed the increased concentration of wealth into fewer and fewer hands after the Civil War well into the early 1900s, Republicans and Democrats together enacted the various progressive reforms, Republicans and Democrats together enacted the New Deal, Republicans and Democrats worked together during World War II and later the reconstruction of Europe, Republicans and Democrats worked together to enact the various civil rights laws of the 1960s as well the “Great Society” and Republicans and Democrats together enacted various program creations and expansions in the fields of environmental, consumer and labor law. Republicans and Democrats worked together in the 1980s to “save” Social Security” and end the Cold War. Republicans and Democrats together enacted the creation of Medicare Part D. Republicans and Democrats together bailed out the banks and automakers in 2008/09.

        But to be very clear, Republicans and Democrats DID NOT together create Obamacare. (To the credit of Republicans, but that’s not the point at the moment.)

        The point for purposes of this discussion is that for anyone to suggest that existence “the establishment” is a recent phenomenon is simply out of their effing mind. An establishment — an oligarchy if you prefer — has been with us since the founding era. Power has always been concentrated in the hands of a few over the many. There has never been a genuine “democracy” in the United States, at least not in the sense that Decius would have us believe there was once one.

        Since the founding era (and before, actually) we have been governed at times well and at at times badly, but always by an establishment. This is fact.

        If what Decius were to argue that he wants the establishment to make wiser decisions to properly serve the genuine interests of the many, I would welcome that discussion. But to suggest that the establishment can be smashed and superseded by the many — or, repulsively, by the one, a “Caesar” — is idle folly.

        Decius and some of his readers here on “American Greatness” need a tutorial in American history. Not that history teaches us everything we need to know about the needs of the present and answers for the future, but a basic understanding of how we got to this point, the excessive concentration of wealth and power into fewer and fewer hands, is a necessary precondition for finding our way to a better future for the many who no longer have a realistic path for wealth creation or a brighter future for their children than the one they had when they were children.

        The problem with suggesting that if Hillary wins it will mean (and I’ll paraphrase where) ‘the end of the republic” but yet we citizens of this republic can never give up. We cannot allow hysterical doomsayers like Decius to teach us that a fate of misery and destitution for the many is guaranteed if Hillary wins on November 8.

        Because if we believe that we will have lost all hope for a better life for ourselves, our children and our republic.

        Worse than losing one’s job is losing all hope. If Lincoln taught us anything, it is to never give up hope, that the United States is “the last best hope of earth” — and Lincoln was right.

        We Americans have a moral obligation not only to our descendants but also to our ancestors to never give up hope. If we give up hope, we will have repudiated the legacy of the founders and Lincoln.

      • You have not responded to anything I’ve said, but have merely repeated your
        attacks on the pointless strawmen of your imagination.

        To say that bitter foes Jefferson and Adam’s constituted a “bipartisan oligarchy” is idiotic. You might as well claim that Hitler, Stalin, Churchill, and FDR together constituted a “joint oligarchy”. After all, they were all “powerful men”, and apparently their similar degree of power matters more to you than the trivial detail that they hated one another.

        Powerful slaveholders and financiers ruled the republic well into the middle of the 19th century.

        Thank you for sharing what you recall of your high school history lessons, but this is completely irrelevant to what the rest of us are talking about. The point which you mulishly refuse to acknowledge is that those “powerful slaveholders and financiers” were not all of one mind. In fact they were of very different minds, which is why in due course we had a Civil War.

        denying that the founders were generally, and perhaps universally,
        wealthy and powerful men is conclusive evidence of deluded ignorance.

        Nobody is denying that, you semi-literate buffoon. What I’m attempting to remind you of, or perhaps to inform you of for the very first time, is that those “wealthy and powerful men” were not working in conjunction with one another – that in fact they feared and detested one another. Compare the attitude of Jefferson and Adams to one another with that of the Clinton and Bush families today. I’m assuming that you have some familiarity with the early years of the republic.

      • Now you’re being intentionally obtuse.

        What “we’re talking about” is the idiotic suggestion that the existence of an “establishment” is a new phenomenon and is a claim that’s easily refuted by reference to historical facts. Whether in the early days of the republic, the days leading up to the Civil War, gilded age right through today we can easily identify ruling elites who have had their say in the running of the federal government.

        No, we’re not going to bring out the Hitler card here, the parlor trick of Trump’s critics that I have condemned elsewhere when it has been used against Trump as a “fascist” or a modern day Hitler.

        The anti-Federalists were a spent force once the second Constitution was ratified.

        But I credit you with recognizing the fatal flaw with Decius’s argument, that if it’s true that an establishment of power has existed since the earliest days of the republic his entire thesis goes up in smoke. Thus, your desperation to deny the history of this republic that everyone knows but you and Decius must desperate conceal, no doubt in the service of a noble lie.

        The good news is that your heart is in the right place. You genuinely believe, or at least have been led to believe, that the republic will come to an end if Hillary is elected. Were this true, that her election would bring about the destruction of the republic that Washington and Lincoln built and if it were true that Trump were the only man who can save us from that destruction, well of course it would make perfect sense to do everything possible to secure the election of Trump.

        However, there are others who genuinely believe the opposite, that the election of Trump would mean the end of the republic and that whatever Hillary’s faults may be she’s the only person who abate the death of the republic.

        Both claims are, even allowing for election year rhetoric, excessively hyperbolic. Were Decius writing TV commercials for Trump I wouldn’t have a problem in the least with some of the claims he’s made here and his infamous Flight 39 Election piece. But “American Greatness” presents itself as serious thinking, a venue for high brow writing for what is admittedly a low brow subject. To present oneself as a serious writer and still write such hyperbole that — and I’ll paraphrase — if we don’t elect Trump it will mean the end of the republic. The only comparison of such hyperbole for, or against, a candidate one can readily think of is the notorious Daisy commercial in 1964, where pro-LBJ forces would have had us believe that if Goldwater were elected it would mean inevitable nuclear holocaust and the end of western civilization.

        Let me be clear: on the campaign trail everything is fair game. Call Hillary whatever it takes — “enabler”, “corrupt” or whatever — to destroy her. But in a relatively obscure blog like this which posits serious thinking, campaign rhetoric has no place. There is a kernel of wisdom in what Decius is trying to say but he vastly overstates his case and in doing so undermines the credibility of what is otherwise a plausible argument for the urgency of electing Trump as president.

      • This is the best piece that I have read on this website. I know that is not saying much, but thank you for writing this.

      • That’s standard fare from “the writer currently calling himself “Party of Lincoln””. Rather than address the points which other people make, he constructs his own strawmen and proceeds to whack them vigorously.

        Nobody is saying “the wealthy have never had outsized influence in America before now”, which is the claim he expends so many, many words refuting. What is being pointed out is that it’s very unusual for the wealthy to all be one one side and the rest of the people on the other. What is unusual is for “both parties” to have agreed on the exact same set of policy positions, positions which are unpopular with the people of the country as a whole. For most of American history the two parties have represented very different ideas and sets of people. That is no longer the case today.

    • Not exactly. He argues that this is the last chance for majority rule of the whole people on certain issues to occupy the political stage on an equal footing with the portion of the whole people that constitutes a party. If you look at the will of the majority that occupies what you call the fringe of both political parties; you find that a majority agrees on no open borders, no freer trade, and no endless war. This year, you might have many Sanders and Trump supporters forming a majority based upon on trade and war. You might have another majority on immigration policy formed by Trump supporters, Cruz supporters, other Republicans and many Democrats. The numbers in both factions exceed 50%.

      However, those who control the administrative power in both parties have been able to thwart the will of these majorities by an increasingly rigged political system that devalues the vote and retains power over the administrative rule making by keeping these majorities divided between the two political parties so they cannot unite on issue-oriented grounds.

      Your argument about the Founders is disproved by the composition of Washington’s cabinets and the election of Adams in 1796 when each candidate for Pres and VP ran alone and where the rules of the Electoral College at that time made Adams President and Jefferson VP because they were the top two vote-getters.

      Also, Decius’ argument is proven by the fact that “We the People” and “the States” are the two parties to the social contract called the Constitution. That term meant the whole people – not just a majority. And, in fact, the original ratification requirements as well as the 75% requirement for ratification of any amendments clearly prove that the whole people are meant to have retained all power that they did not delegate via the Constitution to the federal government. In essence, the establishment wants to pack the People in the same manner that FDR tried to pack the Supreme Court in order to force his will upon the majority of the whole people.

      Decius argues that because Trump’s majorities cross or blur the lines between factions within both major political parties, their opinions deserve equal political strength in spite of the fact that the established two-party system coupled with the entrenched political interests of various factions within the establishments have caused many self-proclaimed true conservatives to support tacitly Clinton because Trump wrecks the status quo that [provides them with their influence and money.

      • An interesting set of comments on a typically interesting post from Decius. The thesis of the discussion seems to be something like this: The party system, which emerged very shortly after the Founding but was not contemplated by the Declaration or the Constitution, has become a dangerous vehicle that entrenches the (also extra-Constitutional) administrative state, operates to destroy the notion of a nation that exists by, for and of the people, and is inimical to just and popular government, ironically because the two parties occupy the field even as they agree on too much.

        If that is a fair statement of the problem, I hope that the specifics of a workable and just alternative to party government for us here and now, which are not obvious, can be formulated by Decius and his commentators. (There is of course the European option of more issue-based parties, but Europe of course nonetheless has a parallel problem, spawned by its dominant parties and embodied in the EU — just starting one or more new parties does not solve the systemic problem and temptation of party government.)

  3. One source of the problem is the rise of an (elite controlled) mass media which has raised public manipulation and thought control to levels the Nazis and Communists could only dream of. Any restoration of genuine political pluralism in the United States will require the breaking up of the existing Ministry of Truth – an entity which, as we have seen in this election cycle, has now taken over such “conservative” redoubts as Fox News, National Review, the Washington Examiner, etc.

    Here’s is leaked email from a chairman of the National Endowment of the Arts to the head of the Clinton campaign.

    We’ve all been quite content to … conspire to produce an unaware and compliant citizenry. The unawareness remains strong but compliance is obviously fading rapidly.


    Luckily for the Uniparty it’ acquisition of “conservative” news sources looks like paying big dividends in this election.

    • It should be jaw-dropping but isn’t.
      “The unawareness remains strong but compliant is fading away. This problem…”
      “This problem”?
      This is not the language of a healthy polity, to say the least. I would hope, regardless of how the election turns out, that we could have a rational, cool-headed discussion of a new political relationship among the states and federal government. The hubris reflected in that email indicates it will not happen. I don’t see the administrative state ceding power peacefully any longer. Let’s hope that to be wrong.

  4. We live in a post-constitutional, post-Rule of Law era and a wholesale change must be made in the relationship among the states and federal government. We need to begin this process while rationality and cool heads prevail. As is stands the oligarchs obviously will do anything to maintain their near-totalitarian control.
    I’ve seen the term “Banana Empire” used quite a bit to describe the United States today. Unfortunately, it’s completely accurate. We have become as corrupt and backwards as regimes we criticized as recently as three decades ago. It’s too late to return to anything that remotely resembles the republic we once had, so let’s be realistic and start to discuss the type of government that we must create to represent the American people. We did this after the Articles of Confederation failed so we should be able to transition into something more akin to an actual democracy.
    The key is to convince the oligarchs who rule the Banana Empire it is in their best interests.

  5. “We are ruled by an oligarchy, as we have been for most of our nation’s history; and we are ruled under an administrative state, as we have been for the last century.”

    Outside the undeniably true first clause, the rest of this sentence is hysterically, demonstrably false.

    • What is demonstrably false? Agencies no longer enforce rules, but actually write them. UnConstitutionally.

      • I would say that the people were responsible for the creation of the administrative state since the powers of the legislative branch were delegated to the executive by their representatives.

      • Nah, it is simply the three branches working in collusion with each other. Once three thieves learn they can work together instead of against each other, the thieving will grow exponentially.

      • Hey, look! Your stopped clock was right again today! Bravo! I’ll give you a free upvote for that!

      • Too bad I can’t get you to understand the rest of the Constitution. Still waiting for you to provide the word “immigration” in there.

      • How about you do a little more reading on English Common Law and the first responsibility of any legitimate government instead of trolling.

      • How about you learning what a Federation is, and why common law doesn’t apply to the limitations on government.

      • I refuse to give up on the Constitution. They can pry it from my cold dead hands.

    • I’m intrigued by your denial that we have been ruled by an administrative state for the last century.

      It is well documented that the explosion in the creation and growth of federal agencies began at the beginning of the 20th century.

      But I beg you not to take my word for it. Please read what The Heritage Foundation has written (or find scholarly work published by CRB) on the origins and the growth of the administrative state:


      So that I can’t be accused of burdening readers of “American Greatness” with asking them to a lengthy article on the origins and growth of the administrative state, I will summarize THF’s thesis by quoting it directly in pertinent part:

      “But while the actual growth of the administrative state can be traced, for the most part, to the New Deal (and subsequent outgrowths of the New Deal like the Great Society), the New Deal merely served as the occasion for implementing the ideas of America’s Progressives, who had come a generation earlier. It is the origins of the modern state–and the constitutional implications of that change–upon which we will focus our attention.”

      America’s Progressives, as they are referred to by The Heritage Foundation, include Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson and Robert LaFollette. These political leaders, “progressives”, were at the peak of their political powers in the 1900-1920 era — about a century ago.

      It is absolutely true that the administrative state, as such, has grown substantially since its birth — its “founding”, if you will — in the early 1900’s, but there is simply no denying that the progressive movement which gave birth to the administrative state gave that birth in the first two decades of the 20th century.

      The power granted to these creations of federal power, ranging from the Federal Reserve (1913) to the Federal Trade Commission (1914) and a constellation of somewhat less powerful but still very robust agencies such as the (federal) Food and Drug Administration (1906). These agencies were born during the Progressive Era and are still with us today. For better or worse, they have been in existence for about a century and aren’t going anywhere in our lifetimes, whether under a President Trump or a President Clinton. Whether or not these agencies SHOULD be abolished is another question for another time, but it’s not a question on the mind of either candidate has anywhere near the top of their mind.

      With the adoption of the 16th Amendment (1913), which granted Congress the power to levy an income tax — or the various agencies Congress the TR, Taft and Wilson created to regulate interstate and intrastate commerce (and we should not overlook the explosion of “progressive reforms” at the state level, but we limit our inquiry here to the administrative state at the federal level) it is a matter of undisputed historical fact that the administrative state was born during the Progressive Era about a century ago, which has of course grown since and which rules us to this day.

  6. I have come to a similar conclusion: The system’s legitimacy died the day the Leftist half of society decided to use mass immigration as a device to shut out of democracy the Rightist half.

    From that day onward the Rightist half was left holding a choice between accepting the loss of representation or accepting the loss of the republic.

    The conservatives has chosen the former, the Alt-Right has chosen the latter. Alt-Right portal: nxx14.blogspot.com

    • Mass immigration as a tool wouldn’t be useful if Republicans weren’t overtly bigoted and xenophobic towards immigrants. And if you weren’t willing to break the Constitution to support your bigotry and xenophobia.

      • Nope. But I question those who have no ethics not understanding of America’s foundational roots and Constitution.

      • You have no understanding of ethics, or of America’s foundational roots and Constitution.

        There is no mention of “natural rights” anywhere in the US Constitution.

        In the entire Federalist Papers there is just one mention of “natural rights”, and it does not support your views of what “natural rights” are.

        In the entirety of the collected papers of James Madison, nine volumes of which you can examine here, there are just 15 mentions of “natural rights” – and most of those refer to the natural rights of states or countries, not of individuals.


        Of all the Founders Jefferson was the one who wrote most frequently of “natural rights”. But considering that he was a slave-owner all his life it’s very evident that what he meant by the phrase was something very different from your goofy 21st century liberaltarian mumbo-jumbo.

        Two things are very obvious if you actually read the Founders. (1) They were not very interested in the subject of “natural rights”. (2) To the extent they they did address “natural rights” they meant something by it sharply different than you do.

      • The Virginians were, almost to a man, slave-owners.

        Once you find a way to square that fact with your own view of “natural rights”, get back to me. It’s abundantly evident that what these individuals meant by the phrase “natural rights’ was something completely different from what you mean by it. (I’m assuming that you’re not a big believer in slavery yourself)

      • Slavery doesn’t square with it, which is why it was a doomed practice. The Founders stealthily snuck the power, in the Bill of Rights, for the Supreme Court to eliminate slavery with rulings.

      • “A DECLARATION OF RIGHTS made by the Representatives of the good people of Virginia, assembled in full and free Convention; which rights do pertain to us, and our posterity, as the basis and foundation of Government.

        1. That all men are born equally free and independent, and have certain inherent natural rights, of which they cannot, by any compact, deprive their posterity; among which are the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.” James Madison

      • “Because, the bill violates that equality which ought to be the basis of every law, and which is more indispensible, in proportion as the validity or expediency of any law is more liable to be impeached. If “all men are by nature equally free and independent,”1 all men are to be considered as entering into Society on equal conditions; as relinquishing no more, and therefore retaining no less, one than another, of their natural rights. ” James Madison

      • You do realize that you’re quoting form the link I gave you? And those those half dozen mentions of “natural rights” are from from Madison’s writings over a period encompassing sixty-five years? I wouldn’t say mentioning natural rights once per decades displays any sort of fixation on the matter by Madison.

      • Yep, just pointing out how you are trying to move the goal posts.

      • “But neither the one nor the other circumstance can essentially affect our natural rights. ” James Madison

      • Your ability to find one single sentence out of Madisons forty years of writing in which he mentions “natural rights” is truly remarkable! Especially when I already told you that he used the phrase 16 times in his papers, albeit in the majority of those instances he is referring to the “natural rights” of states.

      • Yep, but you act as if he never said any, then when they become apparent, you act as if they are inconsequential and these people had no idea what Natural Rights are.

      • The Constitution? Maybe the document you think I’m willing to break is the Declaration of Independence. It has no legal value to begin with it so I’m not sure what I’m supposed to break.

        The Constitution is for the benefit of a class of people the founders referred to as “our posterity”. It says so in the first paragraph.

        They didn’t mean Mexicans. They meant their posterity, i.e., the people who in today’s America cannot express or defend their group interests for fear of mobbing, disemployment or persecution.

      • Again, there it is. “Bigotry and xenophobia” (a) masquerading as an argument, (b) an effort to quash discussion from those opposed to you, and (c) more evidence of your complete and utter ignorance of or willful blindness towards human nature.

      • It’s obviously bigotry and xenophobia. The entire argument for closed borders is based in it. And it holds because rational arguments like economics or rights don’t work on bigots and xenophobes.

      • John, you’re on the right track in exposing the hysterical hypocrisy of the eager pro-Trump argument, which should be distinguished from the “lesser of two evils” pro-Trump argument, but I would caution against accusing Trump and/or his supporters of bigotry and xenophobia.

        Trump’s supporters, whom Trump has brilliantly exploited, are genuinely terrified of dramatic demographic changes and globalization. We all know people who casually refer to blacks, Latinos and Asians moving into their neighborhoods and “destroying” them. We all know people who acquire consumer products, such as cheap televisions and computers, that are made in Asia but who decry the fact that these products are made in Asia. Their hypocrisy is no less subtle, yet no less profound, than the hypocrisy of a man who manufactures his products in China and Mexico and who buys the steel for his US construction projects in China.

        When the likes of Decius embrace the Trumpian mantra “Make America Great Again” they embrace the notion that we can restore a lost utopia. Their hearts are in the right place. I genuinely believe that they don’t consciously wish to reclaim a republic which brutalized African Americans and undertook initiatives such as “Operation Wetback”, but when they chant “Make America Great Again” their mind’s eye envisions a Norman Rockwell world of citizen-legislators ensuring that the public schools are run well, everyone who was able-bodied wanted to and did work in the local factory, doctors made house calls and you could go to a local bar where everyone knows your name. I’d love to live in such a world, but that’s not the whole of the world that Trump and Decius would have us believe is within our reach if we just embraced Trump’s vision to “Make America Great Again”.

        The whole of that world — and you can take your pick of whatever era one thinks America was at its “greatest” before the liberal establishment screwed it up — was much more complicated and not all roses and sunshine. Jim Crow stained out national soul, and not just in the South, through the mid 1960s. Workers were, in many cases, mistreated. Pollution was rampant. In other words, America has always been a mixed bag of greatness and dreams unrealized or, in some cases, brutally denied. Reading many of the comments here gives me much more hope than the hysterical claims of Decius as it’s clear as day that men and women of good will are frustrated and frightened by the increasingly rapid pace of social, economic and technological change. There is no returning to the form and shape of federal government as it was in the 1790s or 1850s and, apart from Decius, I don’t know of any serious political observer who have any expectation that one day we could, or even should, go back to a federal government which has no federal civil rights laws, no central bank, no supervision of national banks or the securities industry, no supervision of the pharmaceutical industry or where there is no national old age pension or health care delivery program.

        The bigots and xenophobes who support Trump, such the folks with the Klan and Storm Front, are few in number and probably no greater than the Sharpian racists who support Clinton. But fear has gripped Trump’s supporters and we conservatives who are not consumed by such fear have an obligation to our fellow conservatives to address their legitimate concerns regarding economic opportunity and fairness in the administration of safety net programs.

      • I don’t accuse all Trumpsters, just the ones that own it, while simultaneously denying it. I think many are just ignorant and don’t know any better. They have been told they were a hammer for so long, and that nails are the problem, that they want to go out and pound some nails. They were created by Republicans and Trump said “hey, let’s DO go out and pound some nails”. And ironically, Trump got this going because he got burned on a Mexican business deal and got sued. So he’s bitter about Mexicans, felt the need to retaliate, and found there was a wave of support for that. Had his business deal not gone South, he’d not have been in the running, let alone the nominee.

        I think there is a valid argument in “I don’t like Trump, but we have no choice but vote for him”. But to pretend he is some sort of Constitutional paladin or religious warrior is nothing short of bizarre. He’s an old, spoiled rich junior playboy billionaire who wants another check on his bucket list.

      • All of the above is absolutely true. My only caution is to avoid accusations of malice of intent, such as racism and the like. Trump supporters are experiencing a great deal of pain in their lives, whether it’s economic misfortune or the sense that the world they grew up in collapsing around them. Their pain is as real as any of the objections to Trump that have been made over the last 15 months.

        The difference between now and June 2015 is that the House of Trump is on fire and the timbers are falling all around his supporters. His collapse was never just about his personal shortcomings as a human being, but the fear and resentment that he stoked against demographic segments of the electorate who will vote against him in massive numbers and whose share of the electorate will continue to grow in the near future. You can’t trash blacks, Latinos and women and expect to win their vote and you can’t expect to win an election if you trash — needlessly so — large segments of the electorate.

        That’s the horse race part of this analysis. The deeper part of this analysis, which is what we’re concerned with here on “American Greatness”, is that Trump is nothing more than a modern day Stephen A. Douglas, who was the master of the “Art of the Deal” in the 1850s but who was guided by no foundational principles at all except the elevation of the will of the majority without any reference or even recognition of the rights of the minority. For those who have studied, whether casually or seriously, the writings of Stephen A. Douglas one will instantly see the nearly identical philosophical moorings of Douglas and Trump. As Trump himself might put it, sad!

      • True, but Lincoln was so quixotic, he didn’t understand the damage he was going to do and was willing to sell out one competing ideal for another.

        But yes, I am saddened because when you see a site called American Greatness, the last thing one expects is Trump apologetics.

      • Sorry for jumping in the middle here but … how are the interests of the state advanced with immigration, exactly? Put aside charity to refugees for a moment. What is the rationale for demanding more immigration today? If we shut the doors to all new immigrants, hypothetically, how would the U.S.A. prosper/suffer? The left usually doesn’t provide a very persuasive argument here outside of easily rebutted bromides.

      • More taxpayers, more workers, bigger military, economic superiority and advantage, fewer manufacturing jobs lost, etc, etc, etc.

      • More taxpayers,

        **or more welfare cases and other cases of free riding**

        more workers,

        **name the sectors where we need “more workers” while the number of people who have stopped looking for jobs is in the tens of millions.**

        bigger military,

        **so we need more immigrants for our military?? nonsense.**

        economic superiority and advantage, fewer manufacturing jobs lost, etc, etc, etc.

        **so immigrants are a source of cheap labor, do I have that right? I am sure the millions of unemployed workers would take issue with this as serving the national interest**

      • Immigrants use very little welfare. The welfare they receive is largely reduced price or free meals in school for their children. 100% of all Americans are on or will be on welfare programs. We need inexpensive labor and taxpayers to support all the lazy, rich baby boomers retiring and living for 30 years.

      • What percent of our prisons are filled with immigrants?

      • You must be thinking of the internment camps started by Democrats. That’s not what I’m talking about.

      • It would help if you would take some Econ course. If an international competitor begins to undercut your prices and you can’t maintain yours, then you have to find a way to make your products for less money, or you fail and the jobs go away regardless. So you either find less expensive workers or you go to where they are. Thus, if we were to let less expensive workers in, then we wouldn’t lose those jobs, and the multiplier effect created by them. Yes, some people will lose their jobs, but others are created as the immigrants spend their money, seek homes, food, necessities, etc.

      • It would help if you knew something about the history of economics and world trade. We heard the “the Japanese are underpaying their workers … we’re effed” all through the 80’s and … American car companies fared far better than expected and Japan has been in a recession for over a decade.

        But the tell in your answer is the best: bring in immigrants who can be paid less and lay off the higher paid American workers. Gotcha.

      • Tell me what is worse. Losing jobs overseas, or keeping those jobs here?

      • Read your Econ textbook again, specifically David Ricardo. You sound uneducated.

      • Cite the passage. Immigrants create jobs, that is a fact. They spend money, that money gets turned. As opposed to sending it out of the country, where it sits for awhile, then finally comes back, mostly in the hands of banks and investors, not in job creation due to demand.

      • So Marxists ask you to back up your smack talk? Good for them.

  7. I think you should quit because you are NOT a good writer, NOT a good thinker and are sullying the great heritage of Publius.

  8. For instance, it is “The Purpose of Elections”, not “What Elections Are For”

  9. I believe Franklin’s point was only a good people can defend a Constitutional Republic. This speaks to (1) theology (an agreement on what is good), and (2) homogeneity of a people. Diversity is not a strength. The Left knew this when they sold us the 1965 Immigration Bill. A Nation is not an idea – it is a faith generally held by a similar people. The Golden age of Greece died after three centuries simply because they ran out of Greeks or inflated what a Greek was. Same deal with Rome. The Tower of Babel has many lessons to teach. Ask yourself how much trust you have in your fellow American. I doubt it is very high.

      • Another example of xenophobia and bigotry, and yet you will continue to deny it.

  10. Ha! Thanks for appreciating my name and icon.

    I had that idea “churning” inside me for quite some time till it … just came out.

  11. Clinton will be elected by a majority. By an extensive structure of state governing (see gerrymandering) and local voting, those in the minority, with demonstrable polar political philosophies and views on reams of issues, will hold the House where they can and will stymie Clinton’s majority agenda.

    Am I missing something? Or is this supposed intellectual critique of the contemporary outcome of the system just another whine from another old White guy no longer getting his way?

    Sounds like the usual old refrain – “The kids these days” – cue eyerolls.

  12. Just discovered this blog and love it. I am far more the strict constitutionalist as it relates to the limited power of the feds than even this blog but this hits what I have been arguing forever with the National Review types squarely on the head.

    IMO there are two wings to the old conservative coalition that need to come together with a federal platform. The disaffected Trumpkins are the largest, the offspring of the Roosevelt and Reagan Dems who have been screwed by the K/Wall Street establishment and the 2nd is the loose overlapping coalition of Tea Partiers/Libertarians/Classical Liberals/Constitutionalists/and state rights advocates. The third group of big government evangelicals will likely come to the fold too as they realize how much they’ve lost even at the state and local levels the last 20 years.

    A platform for promoting common sense realist foreign policy, smart military spending focused on our security first, fixing and allowing flexibility on the SS/Medicare scheme that we’re stuck with. There are differences on trade and real immigration reform and enforcement here but room for some compromise. Other than that the platform needs to be based on devolution of federal power including both fiscal, environmental, land, and social issues to the states. We can also agree on a platform to end secret court and government spying too.

    We do that in organized fashion and the neocon, K-street establishment is powerless and declawed and we create space for growth as the looming fiscal disaster and true issue gridlock makes the state devolution platform compromise the only attractive option for the left.

    If we don’t do this the days ahead look dark as the establishment uses us against each other to maintain a last grasp on power.

  13. Politics is largely about emotions. The left accepts this and exploits it while the right is ashamed of the emotions that prompt people to ally with it. The right sees itself as the triumph of reason over irrationality, and yet it has not succeeded in convincing the professors and gurus that the left’s dogmas are false. Only on the driest issues do the right’s intellectuals get into high gear. I recall during the standoff at Ruby Ridge Rush Limbaugh was gushing about the need to protect undistributed income of limited liability partnerships from taxation, while ignoring the primal issues posed by the standoff. The right will be ineffective until it finds talking heads who can justify the emotions that motivate its partisans.