Losing the Consent of the Governed

The American people don't trust their leaders - any of them.

As our federal government roars madly towards a horrific collision with the brick wall of the fabled Debt Ceiling, everyone that's anyone is unanimous in agreement that bouncing off the ceiling would be a Really Bad Idea.  Mr. Obama and Speaker Boehner might not agree on anything else, but they both say that defaulting on America's financial obligations must be avoided at almost any cost.  All of Wall Street, the major media, and anyone with access to a microphone feels the same.

Even the most strident Tea Party congresspeople want nothing to do with a national default.  Michelle Bachmann doesn't think we need to raise the debt ceiling, but she doesn't expect default: she states that we should pay our debts first from immediate tax revenues, then prioritize what's left.  Mathematically, she's right, but like everyone else, she views the idea of default as horrifying.  For that matter, so do we.

Which must make us members of the Ruling Elite, because you know who's hair is not at all on fire about default?  The American people's:

...A large majority worried about the potential consequences regardless of whether Congress votes to allow the national debt to keep increasing.

But when pressed to name their biggest concern, nearly half of respondents say they are alarmed by the prospect that the debt could grow beyond its current limit of $14.3 trillion, according to a new Washington Post-Pew Research Center poll. Only 35 percent say they are more worried about the risk of default and economic destabilization if Congress does not raise the debt limit[emphasis added]

Put it another way: two-thirds of Americans are OK with a default if that's the price of, finally, getting the government to stop wasting our money.  All the warnings from everyone who's Great and Good on all sides are going in one ear and out the other.

America doesn't agree with what our leaders are saying and doesn't care about their predictions of calamity.  They're refusing to follow the pronouncements of their elected representatives.  Our government has lost the consent of the governed.

A Natural Aristocracy?

That's strange, because under normal circumstances, Americans believe that those On High got there by merit.  Americans traditionally believe that our leaders really are smarter or work harder or both, with liberal dollops of luck thrown in.  In some sense, they deserve to be where they are and a certain amount of deference is due.

America is the most egalitarian society in all of history, but only in principle: all are to be equal before the law and to enjoy equal liberties.  Except for modern liberals, no Americans have ever believed that people are enforceably equal in practice, Communist-style.  Our Founders believed in an early version of equal opportunity, but only so the very best and most qualified could rise to the top as they saw themselves as having done:

I agree with you that there is a natural aristocracy among men. The grounds of this are virtue and talents... I think the best remedy is exactly provided by all our constitutions, to leave the citizens the free election and separation of the aristoi from the pseudo-aristoi, of the wheat from the chaff. In some instances, wealth may corrupt, and birth blind them; but not in sufficient degree to endanger the society.

 - Thomas Jefferson to John Adams

Without exception, every single professing Democrat has a bone to pick with the founder of their party: we constantly hear from the Left that wealth has in fact corrupted and endangered society and that Congress is owned by corporations and The Rich.  Conservatives disagree as to the source but agree as to the effect: we feel that politicians have been corrupted by modern government's ability to limitlessly tax the national wealth and redistribute it to whomever offers the pols the most.  We also deplore the government's tendency to pass regulations which create so many opportunities for bribes and for lobbyists.

Either way, our society is clearly endangered.  Those at the helm don't represent America's interests; the American public certainly believe that nobody's minding the store.

Bad and Worse Alternatives

There are only three possible ways that we've reached the point where our leaders - democratically elected to a person, let us remind you - have so lost the faith of the people as for their unanimous warnings to be completely ignored.  None of these explanations are pleasant, but some are worse than others.

The simplest explanation is that, as Jefferson warned, we've failed to discriminate the true mental aristocracy from poseurs.  This is patently obvious: most current Congresscritters are nobody's idea of a bright bulb.  They're smart enough to get elected, but not smart enough to manage well once they're in power.  Barack Obama was portrayed as a super genius, but he doesn't seem to have accomplished anything useful.  As for the oft-elected Joe Biden, well, the less said about him the better.

Thanks to our founders, We the People have regular opportunities to swap out these thieving losers, but we don't.  Joe Biden's been taking the train to Washington so long that he started doing it when the train was the only way to get there.  Defeated incumbents, no matter how corrupt or moronic, are sufficiently rare as to be noteworthy.  Something else must be at work.

The second possibility is that we really are as dumb as they think we are, that they really are the best, and we should just siddown and shuddup.  By definition this can't be logically proven, so the elites constantly proclaim that the mere fact that you disagree with the Ruling Elites is proof that you're too stupid to be listened to.  Looking at the state of our nation's governance and finances, however, we can say with a good deal of confidence that if this is the best of all possible ruling classes, we'd hate to see the worst.

There is another alternative - a deeply, profoundly frightening one, but which the massive split between general public opinion and the actions of our ruling elites tends to support:

Both in Europe and in America, the elites do know what they're doing, and are doing a fine job of it.  The trouble is that they are doing what benefits them, regardless of the destruction of us lesser human beings further down the pyramid.

In other words, they've come to view themselves as aristocrats of the old school: born to rule and to do as they please, to hell with everybody else.

The Peasants Are Revolting

There's abundant reason to think this is the case.  What sort of a government intentionally subjects random citizens to public sexual molestation?  One that revels in its unchecked power, that's what.

What sort of government forces gun dealers to sell guns to known criminals, who then kill both innocent civilians and law enforcement officers of several countries - and then the government uses those illegal sales they required as a reason to shut down the salesmen who were forced to make them, and also to restrict the gun ownership of law-abiding citizens?  One which has no respect for either the Second Amendment or international law, obviously - but more than that, one with no concern for the lives of its own policemen.  Even the stupidest dictator knows that you need to take good care of your armed forces; not ours.

Put another way: our government and elite classes behave with no respect for anything or anyone save raw power.  We say that Muslim terrorists respect only force and that Iran will only stop developing nukes when someone makes them stop through force of arms.  It now appears that our own government will take as much of our money, property, liberty, even lives as it darn well wishes... until, again, someone makes them stop.

Who will that be?  When will they do it?  And, most particularly, how?  By force of arms?  By ballots?  Or by bullets?

We aren't eager to find out, but it had better be soon while there are at least some remaining shreds of decency in the halls of power.  The Romans had a republic once, too, before they lost it to an emperor and their liberties were consigned to the dustbin of history.

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other Scragged.com articles by Petrarch or other articles on Politics.
Reader Comments

We have one more chance to use the ballot. Then the bullets will be flying back. Government is force. Any government in any nation is but force. The threat of using that force sometimes keeps people in line. It works for a while.
I am afraid that soon there will be heads on pikes. And the heads will be those who think they are cocooned in the safety of Washington, District of Criminals.
Food stamp recipients increased from around 29,000,000 to over 40,000,000 in the time that our king imported from Kenya, or Indonesia, or somewhere has taken office. Those who have been forced to accept the handout or die, are not happy. They, for the most part, would rather be supporting themselves as they were brought up to do. That's where the revolution will start. Urge every one you know, please, to vote. Get active, and do something positive. And when the bullets inevitably start flying, you will know that you done all that you could to prevent the bloodshed.
Write, e-mail, and call your representatives at every level of government to convince them to do the right thing.
Peace and Love, weighted with a little lead.
Robert Walker

July 19, 2011 10:00 AM

"Default" is a Bankers word.

"Repudiate" is the common man's word.

Again, do not be fooled by language.

One cannot "default" on a demand to pay for a phony and criminal connivance.

The banking system is a scam, the so-called "government" that they bought and "paid" for is a racket.
It is a matter of 'the numbers game' and the 'protection racket' writ large across a naive nation, duped by their "best and brightest."

Will repudiation be messy? You bet your flaming bippy it will be messy.
But if you keep peeing in a backed up toilet for 60 years before you decide to fix it - that is messy too.

This crisis is the people's opportunity to finally dump this scam.
It won't be fun, it will be one of the hardest things since the origional revolution. But it seems to me, it is the last chance for 'America'.

Good Luck kids.

July 19, 2011 11:38 AM

Economists are divided on why banks are not lending, but increasingly are focusing on a Fed policy of paying interest on reserves — a policy that began, interestingly enough, on October 9, 2008, at almost exactly the moment when the financial crisis became acute. . .

Historically, the Fed paid banks nothing on required reserves. This was like a tax equivalent to the interest rate banks could have earned if they had been allowed to lend such funds. But in 2006, the Fed requested permission to pay interest on reserves because it believes that it would help control the money supply should inflation reappear.

. . . [M]any economists believe that the Fed has unwittingly encouraged banks to sit on their cash and not lend it by paying interest on reserves.

The term, "unwittingly" is the key to the naive bend in the river here. Those who have searched deeply into the history of the "banking" situation know that this cover of "unwitting", "error", "bumbling", "mistakes"...is simply a lie.
Those who can believe a certain group of elites can consistantly profit, to the point of owning practically the entire world because they are stupie and make "unwitting errors" and that they continue along "bumbling" into great fortune by happenstance and just crazy "mistakes"...those who can buy this just bought their own shackles.

July 19, 2011 11:58 AM

Those who can believe a certain group of elites can consistantly profit, to the point of owning practically the entire world because they are stupid and make "unwitting errors" and that they continue along "bumbling" into great fortune by happenstance and just crazy "mistakes"...those who can buy this just bought their own shackles.

Wise words, WW. Americans had better wake up and smell the coffee before we lose everything this country stands for.

July 19, 2011 12:50 PM

Thanks for the lesson WW. Sometimes between the anger and frustration, we forget to "lissen to the wordsss, man!" as one of my Mexican friends said.
Patriot Lady, Some of us have awakened, but too many are still abed. Can each of us awaken one person today?
Peace and Love,

July 19, 2011 1:01 PM

Thank you Patriot Lady for correcting my typo on the word "stupid" when quoting me.
And thank you for your comments in general as well.

July 19, 2011 2:04 PM

The Four Social and Political Ideologies of America

Liberalism is now a religion. It is held by its true believers as a basic truth and social responsibility. It is the belief in statism and governmental-induced equality. It is based in globalism, modernism, elitism, social progressivism, collectivism, and secularism. It is diametrically opposed to Conservatism. It has no motive in integrity, only in succeeding (similar to radical Islam). Liberalism morphed out of original Socialism and attached itself to the Democratic Party as its vehicle of influence.

Conservatism is the basic belief of individualism, personal responsibility, and freedom. It is based in the original concepts of the founding documents, individual rights, and small government. It is the opposite of Liberalism. It is handicapped in open combat with Liberalism by its basis in Integrity, compared to Liberalism, which has no such handicap.
The constituents of these two opposing ideologies comprise the hardcore political and social groups that struggle against each other to increase their positions. (Liberalism has been winning this struggle over the past 75 years, through compromise with the Conservative group, at the demand of the larger group of middle, or moderate, citizens who are referred to as political "Independents".) There is no middle ground between Liberalism and Conservatism, and there can be none.

Unaware-ism--This is the adamant position of the majority of citizens. They have little interest in politics, current affairs, history, patriotism, the general economy, government, or anything outside their weekly routines and their own economy. The call themselves "Independents", but this implies that they are not influenced or controlled by the actions of others, which, in politics, society, and the economy, is harshly not true. They are the coveted political voters who are fed spin and promises by the political class at election time. They elect politicians, without ever knowing what the person stands for. They tend to believe that the attacks on Conservatives made by Liberals and their friends in the conventional media to be true. They vote primarily on name recognition, celebrity status, and the personal appeal of the candidate. These people are responsible for the current condition of the country, by their unwillingness to be informed and to demand integrity from their representatives. They own the present, and they hold the future of the country. They are not bad, they just aren't interested. They believe that the country is run by others and that they have no position in its direction. They ride in the same boat with the rest of us, but when the water rises due to gradual sinking, they adapt and move to a more comfortable position and are unaware of any danger.
Politicism--The political class is comprised of professional politicians, establishment support groups, and those who give benefit to, and who benefit from, the success of politicians. These people have no important allegiance to any ideologies--their pursuit is for personal power, acclaim, and monetary gain. They may have social ideologies, but they successfully subordinate these to their larger personal ambitions.

Will we have another civil war? No. Either the unawares (Independents) will begin to awake and vote for Americanism; or, the country will slide over into the Liberal’s utopia of a European style social democracy. We Conservatives only amount to about 25% of the population, and the majority (the Independents) would side with the Liberals, if they are not first convinced that they are losing their comfortable lives.

July 19, 2011 3:13 PM

"Liberalism is now a religion."~P Jones

But "Consevatism" is only an "ideology"?

This is not a consistant analysis Mr. Jones.
I gather a great deal of truth in your comments, and yet, truth be told, what is 'modern conservatism'?
You must share the stage here now with the Neocons.
Theirs is no more real a 'conservatism' than the Neoliberal ideology that you simply call 'Liberal."

What the true conservatives hope to conserve is the liberal ideas of the founding generation. "Liberal" meaning an attachment to the principles of "Liberty" in the original context.

In practical terms modern "conservatism" is no more akin to the founders principles than the modern form of "liberalism."

Your particular personal interpretation is in fact at great varianc with the type of conservatism practiced by the Republican party for the last 60 years.

The Neocons are simply failed Troskyite Communists, who have taken to expounding the rhetoric of "conservatism" as a guise to achieve the total state that their ideological mentors were reaching towards.
Look into Leo Strauss, the elder Kristol, if you wish verification of my assertions.

We have then, a much more complex set of cercumstance to deal with than you have evinced in your comment.

July 19, 2011 3:53 PM

Wading in the weeds of rhetoric and an in-depth analysis of the past 60 years of political stances doesn't change the fact that we have the vote. And, with enough good sense being used, the vote could clean up the present and the past and give us a good start on the future.

We have crappy politicians because we elected them. They play us for suckers because we let them. They will stop when we stop them. That's the whole story.

July 19, 2011 4:04 PM

"We have crappy politicians because we elected them. They play us for suckers because we let them. They will stop when we stop them. That's the whole story."~P Jones

This rests on the assumption that "We elected them."

It is not an unknown that there has been much mention of the flipping of votes in Diebold tabulation machines. So is the vote riggerd? Do you know for certain that the officials now serving do so as a result of fair voting regimes?

I am not so confident.

I do agree that "they will stop when" the American people stop them.
I simply no longer trust the voting process. And although I abhore violence, much more of this crumbling system and the vast pain it is causeing across the board, I am of the opinion that if a revolt is no in the offing from the people themselves, that it will be provoked by the state, which seems intent on full spectrum dominance over the population, and seems to have tired of democratic appearances.

The discontent of the governed, once they have determined that it is genuinly not based on their consent, will be seen not in the voting boothsbut in the streets. I do fear that there will be blood.

July 19, 2011 8:29 PM

The several newsletters, and sites like Scragged, to which I subscribe have indicated to me at least, that the revolution is in the offing. There will be blood in the streets. Kruschev was wrong. They will not bury us, but not for lack of trying. But it will be bloody.

I posted here that I urged every one to get out and vote. I done so with more than a little trepidation. The voting machines are, or can be rigged. I worked as a poll watcher during the 2010 election. There are so many holes through which the rats can crawl to change the actual vote that it would be difficult to count them.
The most blatant of the holes is that members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has the contract for maintenance of the voting machines. Is it any wonder that Reid beat Angle? She was ahead in the polls by more than 3% the day before the election. Reid won by 6%. That's a swing of 9% in one day. Reid was just rubbing our noses in it.
I hate to admit it, but Willey's right.
Robert Walker

July 20, 2011 12:07 PM

Your're right, Robert. During the last New Hampshire primary, a number of towns simply discarded all votes for Ron Paul. A voter in the town who knew that 8 members of his family had voted for Paul raised a storm. Got little ink, even from supposedly conservative papers.

Pretty corrupt system as you say. Making voters show IDs is a good idea, but counting right is even more important. Erase marks don't show in computers.

July 20, 2011 2:47 PM

After the Al Franken election caper where I live (MN) I became fond of this quote by Joseph Stalin:

It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.

July 20, 2011 4:32 PM
Add Your Comment...
4000 characters remaining
Loading question...