I often hear the expression "we're not going to vote ourselves out of this." The older I get it seems, the longer the pelt of my Wookie Suit becomes, and so I can sympathize with people who think we've lost something, something that we won't be getting back easily.
Some ideas which had been stewing in my subconscious since August (!) coalesced when I read a post by Kevin Baker, quoting a John Ringo novel:
(The party) leadership recognizes that in return for supporting a seemingly populist agenda, they can obtain all the votes they require to remain in power. Even the most cursory analysis of their actions and attitudes, however, indicates that they are not populists but, in fact, are strong antipopulists who actively despise their voting base. This....is proven by their efforts to reduce public educational systems to a level most grade-school children (in other countries) have surpassed, with the excuse that this curriculum is all that the students can handle. They have made the inner-city population base totally dependent on the government, which they control.Well yeah. Our elites are contemptible - everyone agrees with this, and by "everyone" I mean everyone. But the issue isn't whether we can restore a lost past of Ordered Liberty. The question is whether, like Plato's mistaken idealization of Sparta, we yearn for a past that never really was:
Bertrand Russell wrote of this in his A History of Western Philosophy (Allen and Unwin, 1946, p. 114):And so to our Republic. What is the reality, and what is the myth? It's here we go down Moldbug's rabbit hole, but a marvelous rabbit hole it is:
To understand Plato, and indeed many later philosophers, it is necessary to know something of Sparta. Sparta had a double effect on Greek thought: through the reality, and through the myth. Each is important. The reality enabled the Spartans to defeat Athens in war; the myth influenced Plato's political theory, and that of countless writers.
And Moldbug suggests that it's not just Eastern Europe, either:
A few things must be dispensed with. The more obvious is that the US is governed by the principles of the Scottish Enlightenment as encoded in the US Constitution. We are in fact governed by the Puritan concept of ordered liberty, and all the revolution, liberty, freedom, representation blah blah blah crap was only used to transfer power from the British aristocracy to the Puritan merchant and banker elite, and to keep it firmly there. They are assisted by various hunchbacked toadies, notably the Quaker/Methodist/other pacifist Christian bourgeoisie and the Jewish merchants and bankers, but these people should not be mistaken as having any executive function.
The PQJs [Puritans/Quakers/Jews - Borepatch] nonetheless thought communism was an excellent form of social organization for the rest of the world- Eastern Europe, Asia, and Latin America- and the preferred replacement for older authoritarian social systems. Representative democracy could too easily be hijacked by the old elites, as was the constant danger in the West.
First, I believe anti-Americanism is best described as an epiphenomenon of Universalism. The single most significant fact about the world today is that sixty-two years ago it was conquered by a military alliance whose leader was the United States, and whose creed of battle was this nontheistic adaptation of New England mainline Protestantism. I don't think it's a coincidence that the European ruling class holds essentially the same perspectives that were held at Harvard in 1945. The US Army did not shoot all the professors in Europe and replace them with Yankee carpetbaggers, but the prestige of conquest is such that it might as well have.The idea is that what we're seeing today with elitist government goes back very, very far. The Cold War was not a Kabuki dance between NATO and the Warsaw Pact. It was a Kabuki dance between Western traditions in the United States, the elitists vs. the Populists:
In the 1940s, America invaded Europe, rather than the other way around. Therefore, we would expect to see more political diversity in America than in Europe, for much the same reason there are more dialects of English in Britain than in the US. The Englishmen who came to the US were by no means uniformly distributed across England, Scotland and Wales, and the randomizing process of migration tended to homogenize their speech and create a lingua franca. Just as the English of Appalachia retains Elizabethan tropes which have long since disappeared in the home country, the Universalism of Europe has a kind of New Deal purity which the fray of American politics has long since diluted.
Recent American history is plagued by dishonesty. One of my guiding principles when thinking about recent American history is to assume that every prominent American from the mid-20s to the mid-50s found a way to make himself acceptable to the communists. If an American during this period was unable to find a way to make himself acceptable to the communists, he wouldn’t have been prominent. [Sarah Palin could not be reached for comment. - Borepatch]Moldbug amplifies this battle, and then we'll get to the meat of the argument here:
I assumed – last week – that Eisenhower would have similar connections.
So, in response to Ike’s defenders, I planned to dig through Ike’s connections and see what turned up.
Fortunately, Moldbug chimed in to the comments to point out that Ike chose Joseph Fels Barnes to ghostwrite his memoirs. I guess he couldn’t find any non-CPUSA members to write his book. Moldbug also adds, "Eisenhower did not keep Acheson as Secretary of State, but he kept the Acheson-Hiss State Department – and indeed collaborated quite enthusiastically in purging its enemies. This was not an accident or a mistake." Indeed, what could be more complicit with communism than not purging the State Department post-Hiss?
The Birchers believe that Ike stopped short while the USA was defeating the Germans so that the Soviets could capture more territory. I have no idea if this is true. It probably doesn’t matter anyway, since the Acheson-Hiss State Department was going to make sure the Soviets got more than their fair share.
It is not that the American left was the tool of Moscow. In fact, it was the other way around. From day one, the Soviet Union was the pet experiment of the bien-pensants. It was Looking Backward in Cyrillic. It was the client state to end all client states.So a Puritan drive towards the perfectibility of mankind drives the entire political establishment - including Presidents like Eisenhower and George H. W. Bush - to support what on the face would be far left wing policy positions.
The theory of Russia as a client state of the American left helps us understand the behavior of the great Communist spies of the 1940s, Alger Hiss and Harry Dexter White. Essentially all significant institutions of today's transnational world community - the UN, the IMF, the World Bank - were designed by one of these gentlemen, whose role in passing American documents to Soviet military intelligence is now beyond dispute. John Stormer was right.
Or was he? The thing is that while, technically, Hiss and White were certainly Soviet agents, they hardly fit the profile of a traitor like Aldrich Ames. Hiss and White were at the top of their professions, respected and admired by everyone they knew. What motivation could they possibly have for treason? Why would men like these betray their country?
The obvious answer, in my opinion, is that they didn't see themselves as betraying their country. The idea that they were Russian tools would never have occurred to them. When you see a dog, a leash, and a man, your interpretation is that the man is walking the dog, even if the latter appears to be towing the former.
Hiss and White, in my opinion, believed - like many of their social and cultural background - that the US had nothing to fear from the Soviet Union. They saw themselves as using the Soviets, not the other way around, helping to induce the understandably paranoid Russian leadership to integrate themselves into the new global order.
They're all dirty commies, ever one of them. Objectively speaking, of course. Think I'm joking?
The Cold War continues, as Moldbug relates:
Anti-Americanism, in this interpretation, is the organizing ideology of an empire. Call it the Blue Empire. The Blue Empire is an American empire, and its headquarters are in Foggy Bottom and Cambridge and Times Square. Anti-Americanists have no idea that they are in fact serving the needs and wishes of the Blue Empire. But then again, why would they?
The Blue Empire's bitter enemy is the Red Empire, whose headquarters is in Arlington and (for the moment [Written in 2007 - Borepatch]) Pennsylvania Avenue. The Red Empire is currently defending itself in Israel, Iraq, Afghanistan and Colombia - former clients such as Chile, Spain, Portugal, South Vietnam and South Africa having fallen to the Blue side. (The Red Empire still has strong clients in Asia, though, such as Japan, Taiwan and Indonesia.)
If we were going to vote ourselves out of this, we would have done it 60 years ago. But even then, it wasn't really America. Moldbug yet again:
By my count, Anglophone North America ex Canada is on its fifth legal regime. The First Republic was the Congressional regime, which illegally abolished the British colonial governments. The Second Republic was the Constitutional regime, which illegally abolished the Articles of Confederation. The Third Republic was the Unionist regime, which illegally abolished the principle of federalism. The Fourth Republic is the New Deal regime, which illegally abolished the principle of limited government.We snicker at the French, always rewriting their Constitution. We gloss over that our Constitution has been a "living document" at least since the time of James Polk. At least the French had the decency to write their changes down in public.
Of course, all these coups are confirmed by the principle of adverse possession. Otherwise we would find ourselves looking for the rightful heirs of Metacom, or Edward the Confessor, or whoever. Nor is there any automatic reason to treat any of these five regimes as better or worse than any of the others. If, like me, you're tired of the Fourth Republic and would like to see it abolished, all we know about its successor is that it will be the Fifth Republic. It has no need to resemble the Third, the Second or the First.
Archaeologists unearth layers of detritus, reconstructing ancient living patterns from the cast off, scattered rubble. Similarly, we can observe the layers of parasitic attachment to the Res Publica. RTWT, all of the links.
And so Obama is a commie, as it Mitt Romney, George Bush major, and Eisenhower. Non-commies (Sarah Palin) are fiercely excluded from the political Great Game. What's different is that information flow now is possible outside of the political and intellectual elite. The perceived legitimacy of this class is now at a historic low. How will it end?
Who can tell? But one thing is clear - it cannot continue as it is, with the Elite papering over the cracks with increasingly low caliber drivel. The Republic waits, expectantly. Maybe it will just be a higher caliber drivel.
The Fifth American Republic does not have to look at all like what has come before.