This panel from Chris Muir’s Day by Day and this at Drudge – Michelle Obama’s Africa Trip Cost More Than $432,142 – reminded me of something that I wrote back in May:
Having had the opportunity provided by two 11 hour flights in the past week to do a little thinking and reading in the coach section, I have been revisiting a lot of period literature from the American Revolutionary era. It is remarkable how fresh the universal principles of freedom, the unabashed desire for self-determination and expressions of natural law sound even after over 235 years have passed. On my flight back to Scotland, I read the treatise Common Sense, from the famous pamphleteer, Thomas Paine.
I found Paine’s description of the evils of a hereditary monarchy as a form of governance eerily similar to the modern incarnation of that form, our modern bureaucracy combined with the Illuminati and elitists who presume to be our American royalty.
In precise terms, Paine wrote:
“MANKIND being originally equals in the order of creation, the equality could only be destroyed by some subsequent circumstance: the distinctions of rich and poor may in a great measure be accounted for, and that without having recourse to the harsh ill-sounding names of oppression and avarice. Oppression is often the CONSEQUENCE, but seldom or never the MEANS of riches; and tho’ avarice will preserve a man from being necessitously poor, it generally makes him too timorous to be wealthy.
But there is another and great distinction for which no truly natural or religious reason can be assigned, and that is the distinction of men into KINGS and SUBJECTS. Male and female are the distinctions of nature, good and bad the distinctions of Heaven; but how a race of men came into the world so exalted above the rest, and distinguished like some new species, is worth inquiring into, and whether they are the means of happiness or of misery to mankind.”
The governmental bureaucracy thrives on heredity – they value longevity as an avenue for advancement and view loyalty and chronology of service over performance. The recent “revolts” of the public sector unions served to reinforce the sense of entitlement and privilege that comes with this federal heraldry. Even the political parties revere the Illuminati and elitists, giving us candidates that are “establishment approved”.
Such a monarchical perspective leads to governmental interference and manipulation of society to achieve outcomes that the ruling class deems appropriate and necessary – while in actuality being neither appropriate nor necessary. Paine captures the eventual outcome of having such a government of lords and kings and what that means in relation to the freedom of the greater society.
“SOME writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins. Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness POSITIVELY by uniting our affections, the latter NEGATIVELY by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher.
Society in every state is a blessing, but Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one: for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries BY A GOVERNMENT, which we might expect in a country WITHOUT GOVERNMENT, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer. Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence; the palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise. For were the impulses of conscience clear, uniform and irresistibly obeyed, man would need no other lawgiver; but that not being the case, he finds it necessary to surrender up a part of his property to furnish means for the protection of the rest; and this he is induced to do by the same prudence which in every other case advises him, out of two evils to choose the least. Wherefore, security being the true design and end of government, it unanswerably follows that whatever form thereof appears most likely to ensure it to us, with the least expense and greatest benefit, is preferable to all others.”
The key phrase is this:
“Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices.”
And another from the same month quoting Mark Steyn:
Fortunately, when the burdens of recognizability get too great, M Strauss-Kahn is able to retreat to his house in Washington, or his apartment in Paris, or his second apartment in Paris, or his riad in Marrakesh. Oh, c’mon, you provincial bozos: A “riad” is a palatial Moorish residence built around an interior courtyard. Everyone knows that. A lifetime of devoted “public service” in “socialist” France isn’t yet as remunerative as in Mubarak’s Egypt or Saddam’s Iraq, but we’re getting there. As the developed world drowns under the weight of Big Government, the gilded princelings of statism will hunker down in their interior courtyards and guard their privileges ever more zealously. Once in a while, as in that Manhattan hotel suite, a chance encounter between the seigneurs and their subjects will go awry, but more often, as in the Geithner confirmation, it will be understood that the Great Men of the Permanent Governing Class cannot be bound by the rules they impose on the rest of you schmucks.
Yes, they Kahn. You, not so much. After Charlie Rangel, chair of the House committee that writes America’s tax laws, was “censured” by Congress for multiple infractions of, er, America’s tax laws, a Washington Times reporter invited him to imagine what punishment the “average American citizen” would have received had he done what the Congressman did. “Please,” Rangel told her. “I don’t deal in average American citizens.”
A scant 3 days ago, I noted this:
I could be forgiven if her ire seems a little out of place when she complains about the spending habits of private citizens when the current occupant of the White House has a taste for the good life as well. Let’s look at what seems “perverse”, let’s just count the numerous golf outings, the elaborate White House galas, the trips to the homes of the rich and famous, the $10,000,000 allegedly spent by the First Lady on tastes of the good life – $42,000 bracelets for example – all in evidence during the greatest global economic crisis since the Great Depression.
It isn’t just the Obama’s but elected public officials like Nancy Pelosi using taxpayer funded assets to approximate personal wealth at public expense. I would propose that if Ms. Ehrenreich is truly a crusader for the downtrodden, she would be agonizing over public tax money spent in this manner rather than private money that was earned – and TAXED (I’m sure that she would take issue with the term “earned”, because we all just know* that the “rich” stole the money from the poor).
*The phrase “we all just know” is a standard “progressive” catch-all phrase used when there is no evidence other than conventional wisdom. Sort of like the “consensus” on global warming.
Again, recycling from a January post here:
There is a telling quote taken from Friedrich Hayek’s book, The Road to Serfdom: “That hodgepodge of ill assembled and often inconsistent ideals which under the name of the Welfare State has largely replaced socialism as the goal of the reformers …This is not to say that some of its aims are not practicable and laudable. But there are many ways in which we can work together toward the same goal, and in the present state of opinion there is some danger that our impatience for quick results may lead us to choose instruments which, though perhaps more efficient for achieving the particular ends, are not compatible with the preservation of a free society.”
Hayek and Rand provide examples that are simplified views of our current times and the evolution of governmental control using collectivist policies in a “crisis” as an effective approach to problem resolution. A similar march toward a predictable endgame pitting the “looters” against the “producers” of value is clearly visible today, should we choose to see it. “Progressive” tax schemes that seek to “soak the rich” while absolving almost 50% of the population of the tax burden, a broken “social security” system created as a safety net – yet has been raided for political largesse, welfare programs that disincentivize work, public and political contempt for productive industry (i.e. Big Tobacco, Big Oil, Big Pharma, the insurance/ health care industries, for example), subsidies to non-productive industries, de facto nationalization of our financial and auto industries, uncontrolled spending by our leadership, explosive growth in taxpayer supported public employment and the destruction of individual rights under the guise of “too big to fail” and “national crisis” are all as evident in contemporary politics as they are in the pages of Atlas Shrugged.
Today, it appears that we truly are reliving the days of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette…except this time it is King Barack I and his royal consort, Queen Michelle LaVaughn.
The sad aspect is that this time America elected the disaffected royalty.
In F. A. Hayek’s book, The Road to Serfdom, he writes:
I believe it was Lenin himself who introduced to Russia the famous phrase “who, whom?”– during the early years of Soviet rule the byword in which the people summed up the universal problem of a socialist society. Who plans whom, who directs and dominates whom, who assigns to other people their station in life, and who is to have his due allotted by others? These become necessarily the central issues to be decided solely by the supreme power.
As soon as the state takes upon itself the task of planning the whole economic life, the problem of the due station of the different individuals and groups must indeed inevitably become the central political problem. As the coercive power of the state will alone decide who is to have what, the only power worth having will be a share in the exercise of this directing power. There will be no economic or social questions that would not be political questions in the sense that their solution will depend exclusively on who wields the coercive power, on whose are the views that will prevail on all occasions.
This is why the Founders believed in a limited and decentralized government. They understood that people can, and will, vote themselves a monarchy if given the incentive to do so. We have created a monarchy of bureaucracy and elected kings to run it – and us.
This is why the concept of a trusted, localized government and the citizen legislator is important to the security of our Republic. It is far more difficult to be a king when there is dirt under your fingernails.