Sunday, January 2, 2011


An interesting discussion at the new American Interest.

From Adam Garfinkle, "Terms of Contention," which is an introduction to the debates over democracy and plutocracy in American, old and new:
The Founders, their classical educations guiding them, did not put democracy on a pedestal as most Americans do today. That place was reserved for liberty and republican government, each in its way an expression of fear of excessive concentrations of power (with Samuel I, chapter 8 serving as a proof text for most of them). Liberty meant freedom from the impositions of a cloying state, a definition dating at the least from the clash of Roundheads and Cavaliers in the English Civil War. Republican government à la Montesquieu meant protection against the kind of monarchy that sought to suborn the judiciary, the law being, in addition to the social power of the nobility, a check on concentrated royal authority. Democracy, as the term was understood, embodied a hearty capacity for abuse—for mob rule and the triumph of passion over reason to serve the ambition of the demagogue. Though to the sharp side of this point of view, Alexander Hamilton said it best on June 18, 1787 at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia: “Your ‘people’, sir, is nothing but a great beast.”
I'll have more later.


Anonymous said...

Seems to me that they are just making more revisionist history to justify yet a new assault on property right, capitalism and traditional American culture .

To me, it seems like every paragraph contains a howler or two.

To begin with, throe was never a tradition of "equality" other than equality before the ballot box and the courts, and while much is made of "influence", little is proved that there was pervasive inequality in these areas--it is certain that there was noting along the lines of Continental Europe which actually had separate court systems for the aristocracy and, at the founding, could hardly be said to have universal male suffrage. Surely there were abuses, but this is beside the point. This is the old game of the Left: indicting history because it is does not perfectly align with intent.

The whole "gilded age" business is handled with the usual progressive propaganda and could have been written by a contemporaneous Democrat. Somehow Wilson's total disregard for the Constitution or the immense corruption of the so-called "labor movement" is avoided or even held up as a moral good. Moreover, it is not shown that America was in some sort of danger or "crisis: in the Gilded Age, the agi-prop of Democrats notwithstanding. It fact it was an exuberant and extensive age that saw much growth in prosperity and liberty. All we here is the typical democrat electioneering nonsense. Moreover, we hear nothing about the corrupt Democrat polical machine of that day who "manipulation of the electorate" (which sometimes rather bypassing the voter altogether directly "manipulated" the ballot box) far exceeds some ill-defned "influence" of the so-called plutocracy. In fact, the GOP represented mainstream, WASP society and the winners of the Civil War, not the Plutocracy. The Progressive contempt for these people was a severe for them then as it is now.

Certainly, quoting Mark Twain, a proto-liberal, in the modern sense, if ever there was one, is tedious and tendentious in the extreme. This intellectual dishonesty is, however, most clearly articulated by referring to out and out Marxist such as Reich.

But what really galls in this new socists propaganda surge about "income inequality", beside the obvious co-ordination with the overt communism of the Obama administration is the dishonest formulation of it. Of course, as we roll back new deal confiscatory taxation, incomes will become "unequal", but this is because the New Deal is an anomaly in American history. They would have us believe the exact opposite. They try to invent an precedent and a "tradition" for their thievery and treason. They also try to vreate a new "crisis" to enable their power lust.

But this is not the crisis we face. It is the creeping socialism of the last 70 ears that is the crisis, not "plutocracy", and in any event, the only "plutocracy" that we can fins out there are Democrats who have meade their bundle off of the taxpayer one way or another.

The middle class are being decimated by taxes, regulation, "diversity", a rotting educational system, a corrupt media, unions and hostility to business and liberty in general. If they are being assaulted by anything remotely like a "plutocracy", that thing would be the Marxist infiltrated "Nomenclature of the Establishment left as embodied n the Democrat Party.