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Lawyers, Guns
and Money
Picture of chellim1
posted
The End of Legitimacy and the Collapse of Democracy

What else have we been experiencing?

by Abraham H. Miller

All empires and great societies come to an end. Ours will be no exception. The fissures of collapse are already in evidence.

Nothing is as valuable to any political system as its legitimacy. Regimes mired in corruption and inefficiency stumble on for centuries if the masses believe in them. Divine right of kings sustained the French royalty despite their palpable incompetence. The Russian czar was known as “the little father” despite serfdom persisting in Russia long after the industrial revolution transformed the West.

The strength of our democracy is its legitimacy. Hillary Clinton noted this during the 2016 election campaign when she asked candidate Donald J. Trump if he would accept the election results. When he hesitated, she spoke of the implications for American democracy if he failed to do so.

Ironically,it is Hillary Clinton who has not accepted the election results. She has crisscrossed the speakers’ circuit telling eager listeners that the Russians stole the election from her. Similarly, Stacey Abrams, who ran unsuccessfully for the Georgia gubernatorial post, has attributed her loss to electoral suppression. These themes have been both sustained and embellished by the current flock of Democrat presidential candidates, notwithstanding the absence of evidence. Even in the wake of the Mueller report, Democrat strategist Donna Brazile said that Russia caused Trump to win the election.

We now know that the Mueller investigation was based on an unverified FISA warrant paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign through a cutout. Even the initially vaunted Mueller report now seems to be full of inaccuracies with the bias running in one direction. Exculpatory material of Trump’s lawyer John Dowd’s transcript has been deleted to imply wrongdoing. The full transcript compared by Internet sleuths tells a different story.

Paul Manafort’s Ukrainian oligarch, with supposed ties to Russian intelligence, is actually an intelligence source for the U.S. Department of State, a mischaracterization perpetuated in the Mueller report.

The intelligence community appears vulnerable to accusations of fomenting a failed coup.

Democrats continue to refuse to accept the results of the 2016 election while Republicans believe there is an illegitimate deep state that is more harmful to the democratic process than the Russians could ever become.

No one is above the law both sides claim, but illegal aliens — crushing our border with asylum claims that fail the test under international law — seem to be beyond the law, as are those already here.

How a post-industrial society will absorb millions of barely literate people is not part of the public debate. To ask the question of the benefit these people bring to America, when they will be sucking on the ever-expanding teat of the welfare system, is to be called, racist.

In our secular society, politics has become the substitute for faith and political zealotry has replaced religious zealotry. Opponents no longer have a difference of opinion but are a form of demon to be exorcised from civil society.

The public square has shifted to the Internet. The technology billionaires have become czars of determining what is acceptable speech, and the Congress seems as powerless to control them as it does the crisis at the border.

Meanwhile the national debt grows, sustained by historic low interest rates that will inevitably lead to the next round of inflation. College tuition rises far beyond any other commodity in society and the quality of the education has become inversely related to the rising costs. Colleges no longer teach students how to think, for independence of thought might lead them to a difference of opinion with the propagandists masquerading as teachers. In the world of safe spaces and thought crimes, the First Amendment is murdered at the campus gate.

College professors, who in another era fought loyalty oaths tooth and claw, now succumb to writing a statement lauding diversity and their commitment to it as a condition of employment, retention and promotion. They do so without so much as whimper. Thought control, however, is still thought control.

College student debt now exceeds consumer debt and colleges, originally designed to educate the top 7.5 to 15% of the college-age population, now reach down far below that. In the meantime, colleges have become propaganda mills generating useless degrees that provide no skills for the work force and a host of attitudes — such as the need to avoid controversy — that are counterproductive in a competitive economic environment.

For many, having acquired no useful economic skills, there is no way to get rid of the albatross of student debt. Some have left America as the only expedient means to do so.

American education is the envy of the world, your alma mater will tell you at fund-raising time. This is true only in the engineer and scientific fields. The liberal arts and pseudo sciences are only envied by commissars who might salivate over how we have managed to control thought will disingenuously praising the First Amendment, as the apparatchiks at the University of Illinois have managed to do in their press releases justifying their recent assault on free speech.

Can this society survive? We should remember that economic crashes are the oxygen of mass movements. Times of crisis mobilize the political periphery, the outsiders, the politically alienated whose brand of politics has little to do with the mainstream. The increasing debt burden of this society portends such a crash.

In the Origins of Totalitarianism, the political philosopher Hannah Arendt reminds us that both Hitler and Stalin mobilized “masses not classes.” By that she meant that when societies implode in economic disaster, class-based identities crumble. The society becomes ripe for mass mobilization by an adventurer who will mold the masses with new identities. Whether Napoleon Bonaparte, Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler, or Peron, the script is remarkably the same.

So why did America not respond to such mobilization during the Great Depression? Legitimacy! The very factor that is being eroded through our internecine political conflicts that eat away at both our First Amendment rights and our acquiescence to the will of the people in electing candidates some refuse to accept.

https://spectator.org/the-end-...llapse-of-democracy/


"Some things are apparent. Where government moves in, community retreats, civil society disintegrates and our ability to control our own destiny atrophies. The result is: families under siege; war in the streets; unapologetic expropriation of property; the precipitous decline of the rule of law; the rapid rise of corruption; the loss of civility and the triumph of deceit. The result is a debased, debauched culture which finds moral depravity entertaining and virtue contemptible."
-- Justice Janice Rogers Brown

"The United States government is the largest criminal enterprise on earth."
-rduckwor
 
Posts: 16140 | Location: St. Louis, MO | Registered: April 03, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
goodheart
Picture of sjtill
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The author of the post mentions Clinton and the Dems’s refusal to accept election results, but focuses more on historical trends in academia, etc.
We’re too close to it to know for sure, but it’s looking to me like the Democrats’ behavior right now is a tipping point in legitimacy. The Right grumbled about Obama but accepted (perhaps wrongly) his legitimacy as president; the Left has been “The Resistance” since November 2016.
Does anyone see an easy way back to the relative calm of the Bush era (election decided by Supreme Court, which for many really raised issues of legitimacy, quelled only by 9/11)?
The only hope I see is if Trump is re-elected with a substantial majority in the Electoral College and a majority in the popular vote—-that is, a national strong rejection of the Left-wing base of the Democrats, a la McGovern’s defeat to Nixon. Make them rethink the whole rejection of the peoples’ will (to use a loaded term). But given the depth of passion on both sides and the consequences of losing, I don’t see an end to this in the foreseeable future, unless it is capitulation due to exhaustion.
I hope I am as wrong about this as I was about other things the past few years. Wink


_________________________
“Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice: all the rest being brought about by the natural course of things.”--Adam Smith, born June 16, 1723
 
Posts: 15023 | Location: One hop from Paradise | Registered: July 27, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I don’t see a way back to previous civility (and the shit that went on during the Bush years wasn’t exactly civil). Looks to me like the train has too much momentum and it’s just a matter of what knocks it off the tracks.
 
Posts: 11715 | Location: Shenandoah Valley, VA | Registered: October 16, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Political Cynic
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I think we're beyond that

just look at the makeup of the congress

nothing is going to change unless a dems are defeated

I am convinced that democrats are the enemy of the country and pose a greater threat to our republic than any nation state or terrorist organization - its what they've done and continue to do that makes them what they are

I've also lost confidence in any veneer of justice in this country - they're all corrupt

every election seems to be decided by about 1% of the electorate



Participating in a gun buy back program because you think criminals have too many guns is like having yourself castrated because you think your neighbor has too many kids

"I'm only myself when I have a guitar in my hands." - George Harrison


 
Posts: 48100 | Location: Arizona | Registered: January 16, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Mired in the
Fog of Lucidity
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I think we've seen the last of "civility". With the changing demographics, both racial and generational, I'm afraid we're in for way more fighting than peace, generally speaking. The sweeping, rapid changes to the left just don't portend well.
 
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Political Cynic
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I'm convinced that the root cause of all of this is the education system, and the desire to teach revisionist history instead of the truth

agenda-driven education got us to where we are today



Participating in a gun buy back program because you think criminals have too many guns is like having yourself castrated because you think your neighbor has too many kids

"I'm only myself when I have a guitar in my hands." - George Harrison


 
Posts: 48100 | Location: Arizona | Registered: January 16, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Staring back
from the abyss
Picture of Gustofer
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quote:
Originally posted by nhtagmember:
I'm convinced that the root cause of all of this is the education system, and the desire to teach revisionist history instead of the truth

agenda-driven education got us to where we are today

It's been the plan since the '60s.


________________________________________________________

"How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy." Winston Churchill
 
Posts: 16239 | Location: Montana | Registered: November 01, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Th left were huge assholes to President Bush, it's nothing new, but it is getting rougher and more serious it seems.
 
Posts: 1403 | Registered: August 01, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Gracie Allen is my
personal savior!
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It's kind of a rambling essay. The bottom line, though, seems to be that legitimacy can be gained, or regained, by solid performance. We're beginnign to get that from Trump now.

The flip side is that people have to become utterly sick of pointless noise - and we may be getting there too. Look at it this way: there's actually been a pretty big push over the past few election cycles for party accountability to the individual voters. It may not look like it, but both Trump's triumph over the Republican Establishment and Bernie's nearly successful assault on the Democratic Establishment point to the successful, or at least promising, assault on the elites' assumed priviledges by the grass roots. Either the parties are going to be shunted aside (which seems more and more unlikely) or they're going to have to be more responsive.

Logically that trend could crash on the fact that we are, politically, as polarized as a kid with one dollar standing in a candy store. But sooner or later neither left nor right is going to be satisfied with rhetoric and the occasional election win - they're going to want to see concrete change. That's the next battlefront where politicians succeed or fail.

What comes after that? Actually making it work - sustained economic strength both in terms of profits and employment; a system of laws that is consistent, seen as consistently even-handed and effective; healthcare, banking and infrastructure management where we don't lurch from one panic to another, and so on. It's getting the politicians on the road to seeing and insisting on the importance of these goals that's going to be difficult. The thing is, as contradictory as it may seem given all the loons playing at being political activists these days, reponsiveness to the grass roots is the most likely route to that outcome.
 
Posts: 23082 | Location: Deep in the heart of the brush country, and closing on that #&*%!?! roadrunner. Really. | Registered: February 05, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The article seems overly apocalyptic.

To focus on the inherent problem of disintegration due to conflict is to elevate a fear of democracy over what we have weathered in the past.

At our inception, a fear of factions was part of the debate. Federalist number 10 is widely regarded as one of the finest American political writings of all time. Madison took on both the problems and the value of factions – interests divided along social, economic, religious, geographical and other lines.

Our system constantly suffers the threat of over-integration and disintegration. That is endemic in our messy system. Ours is a system of tension. Tension among ourselves. Tension between state and federal government. And, even tension between state and local government.

It is a truism, I suppose, that nations fall. The story of comforting a dying man by reminding him that he has always recovered in the past may be apropos.

But, we, as a nation, have lasted through disintegrating factions for hundreds of years. Can that come to a final breath? Of course. Yet, we have found resilience in the face of arguable doom many, many times. It seems that the author has decided that it’s time to see the cup as half empty.

The Dems are trying to sell a distorted picture that conservative policies destroy our nation. That is a lie. I see no reason to give in to that kind of negativism. Is it over? Is our republican form of government done? I don’t believe so.

Indeed, we should be heartened by so many of the younger generations who "get it" despite the educational system.

The thought piece is interesting but not compelling in light of our history. Aaron Burr tried to lead Western states out of the union. The Hartford Convention tried to lead New England states out of the Union. And, other factions have risen to destroy the United States. All have failed.

Adams and Jefferson divided their supporters into opposing forces about whether we should go to war against France or, alternatively, England. Yet, we survived.

Now does not seem like our final hour. To me, it seems more like politics as usual like when Jackson’s forces tried to stick Adams with the label of making a “corrupt bargain” as how he became president. His actions weren’t corrupt at all.

Nevertheless, the “corrupt” label was used to keep anger up through Adam’s entire term in an effort to get him out. Everything Adams did was deemed and decried as “corrupt” by his opponents. Sounds familiar.

So we intercepted a coup attempt in our time. Maybe its just a political example of what many trainers say on the range: “If you ain’t cheatin’ you ain’t tryin.’” At best, we are at a modern cross road that looks a lot like those of the past.

This is our generation's challenge as keepers of the flame of freedom.


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Posts: 2687 | Registered: January 06, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
goodheart
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Great comments, Il Cattivo and Tubetone.
And nhtagmember, I agree completely that the deepest and longest-term threat is from the education system and academia. They determine who gets taught what, and in the absence of extremely motivated parents determine what values are put into those mush heads.
Foreign enemies are easy to undermine and defeat compared to this Fifth Column of America-haters.
I’m going to try to get my daughter and her husband to enroll our granddaughter in a Christian school when the time comes.


_________________________
“Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice: all the rest being brought about by the natural course of things.”--Adam Smith, born June 16, 1723
 
Posts: 15023 | Location: One hop from Paradise | Registered: July 27, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Lawyers, Guns
and Money
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quote:
It's kind of a rambling essay.

Yes, it is.

But it does make one important point:
Nothing is as valuable to any political system as its legitimacy.

We have 230+ years of legitimacy because of our fealty to our Constitution. We have a written document, which provides us with a structure which both sides have accepted, win or lose.

A government only has legitimacy as long as a majority of people believe it is legitimate.


"Some things are apparent. Where government moves in, community retreats, civil society disintegrates and our ability to control our own destiny atrophies. The result is: families under siege; war in the streets; unapologetic expropriation of property; the precipitous decline of the rule of law; the rapid rise of corruption; the loss of civility and the triumph of deceit. The result is a debased, debauched culture which finds moral depravity entertaining and virtue contemptible."
-- Justice Janice Rogers Brown

"The United States government is the largest criminal enterprise on earth."
-rduckwor
 
Posts: 16140 | Location: St. Louis, MO | Registered: April 03, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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All the things that have sustained us in the past are declining, distrusted or gone.
Family.
Faith.
Industry.
Government.
Health Care
Education.
Media
All these things were once the envy of the world.
And it seems to me that as a nation and society, we no longer have common, shared goals and a vision for our future. Special interests rule and many seek out some type of unwarranted recognition, advantage or privilege for themselves. Despite the fact that these special interests groups often are a tiny fraction of our society. The media and the internet fan the flames of distrust and often outright lie. And these lies are frequently accepted as truths. The "immigrants" that once sought us out with the idea of hard work and opportunity have been replaced by those just wanting to leech off us. And many Americans embrace this. Our school systems will bring forth a new population of indoctrinated and poorly educated people with no understanding of our past and how we have sustained ourselves.
I hope we can turn this train around. I hope that most of our population can see where we are heading and change our direction.


End of Earth: 2 Miles
Upper Peninsula: 4 Miles
 
Posts: 8450 | Location: Marquette MI | Registered: July 08, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by chellim1:
A government only has legitimacy as long as a majority of people believe it is legitimate.


I rather think, as in the Civil War, it's legitimate based on who can make it stick.

Majorities of people in countries all around the world suffer the system that a minority make stick.

Perhaps resolve is an important aspect. That's why I guess the negative article strikes me as something to leech resolve from patriots.

"Oh give up. It's too late" is not what I want to hear from my corner men during the fight.

It was a small minority of people who fought for our independence from England. Minorities, not majorities, have made the difference quite often.


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Posts: 2687 | Registered: January 06, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by sjtill:
Does anyone see an easy way back to the relative calm of the Bush era


Maybe we are just moving to the rough and tumble we have faced before. Maybe "calm" in a system of factions thwarts the tension that helps us clarify and invigorate our strength.

Federalist number 10 goes more along that line, arguing that strong factions are what gives us strength.

It may be messy but our system is better than all else. Show one that's better has been our nation's challenge for as long as it's existed.

We constantly reform ourselves as in civil rights or Amendments and etc. So, calm has not been part of our civil discourse for long stretches anyway.


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Posts: 2687 | Registered: January 06, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
goodheart
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The US has been considered a high-trust society until recently, compared with most of the world (parts of Northern Europe are also). Robert Putnam wrote the famous book “Bowling Alone” about the decline in civil society associated with the breakdown of fraternal organizations and other “mediating” groups—churches, PTA, etc.—that have left Americans more isolated, and with less contact with people of differing points of view. I would raise the end of the draft and the near-universal male experience in the military as something that also contributed to a feeling of working to the common good.
If we are now becoming a lower-trust society, I personally would put the blame on the Left, that is trying very hard to get people to abandon values long held as the ideal in this country, e.g. racial equality as opposed to race consciousness. Support of mass immigration to the extent of having “sanctuary cities” where national laws are scoffed at is blatant lawlessness, and detrimental to the feeling of common values we should share. It creates distrust of immigrants legal as well as illegal among native-born Americans who have internalized the value of voluntarily law-abiding citizens. Corruption of the voting process by denying the need for voter ID is similar.
Americans have been very tolerant, but that tolerance is being turned against them as they are accused of bigotry by the Left.

Now, I would end by saying that the loudest schrillest voices constitute the minority, and that we will have a chance to choose one way or the other next year. I wish so much were not at stake; we didn’t ask for it, but we have to stand up for our way of life—and that’s not the America Joe Biden has in store for us.


_________________________
“Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice: all the rest being brought about by the natural course of things.”--Adam Smith, born June 16, 1723
 
Posts: 15023 | Location: One hop from Paradise | Registered: July 27, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Drug Dealer
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The Second Coming
By William Butler Yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?



When a thing is funny, search it carefully for a hidden truth. - George Bernard Shaw
 
Posts: 14147 | Location: Virginia | Registered: July 03, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by sjtill:
that’s not the America Joe Biden has in store for us.


That seems sure to me too. We are in for a fight right now. It seems that we need to help our fellows understand that what they want is found in this system more than any other.

Young people are becoming more aware judging by younger people making inroads with their peers.

Biden represents the failed old order. For that matter, the Koch brothers seem as though they do too. The Koch brothers just announced that their money is going to Republicans OR Democrats
- whoever supports amnesty.

In the founding era, the largest group was the loyalists who wanted things to stay the way they were.

Freedom rocks the boat and creates uncertainty. It always has. Humm. That doesn't sound like Biden. It does sound more like a certain President.

When Trump recently challenged the Chamber of Commerce to lobby for the national interest as opposed to a single constituency, he challenged them to think beyond the modern loyalist order and the old ways.

With all that's arrayed against our traditional views of freedom and government, it may be easy to see gloom but freedom-makers manage to lock-onto the basic fact that there's no better system than ours.

It's up to us to defend it.

As one glances across the internet in free and unfree venues alike, powerful defenses are being made for freedom by average citizens seemingly quite aware of what's at stake.

I'm not sure that all the public is as filled with drones as we might fear.

Again, these are our times to lead among our fellow citizens and families. 2 cents spent.


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Posts: 2687 | Registered: January 06, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by sjtill:
Robert Putnam wrote the famous book “Bowling Alone” about the decline in civil society associated with the breakdown of fraternal organizations and other “mediating” groups—churches, PTA, etc.—that have left Americans more isolated, and with less contact with people of differing points of view.


I thought that was more along the lines of his "descriptive" work.

To me, his more "normative" work focused on approving British scholars like Gordon Brown and Trevor Phillips while specifically saying Brown was "moving in the right direction" by seeking what things are common - or as I know it, "concensus historiography."

I don't think Putnam wants the inquiry to stop with describing the problem. He also seems to be interested in a way to reach across. To me, he seems to say that the key is to find common ground.

In any event, Putnam is not a pronouncement of social death. He is just finding a possible point of departure. At least that's the way it seems to me.

Without resorting to Hegelian deconstruction, he seems to be saying, "here's a way to just start from here." . . . far from the seeming dead end painted in the OP's article.


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Posts: 2687 | Registered: January 06, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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First.... and maybe someone else above has pointed it out.... We are not a democracy!

as for Putnam.... he is a tyrannical crook.... and I think Trump is probably one step behind him.... but at least most of our laws in this Republic are keeping it all in check.
 
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