Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Wisdom of AdT

Ever read Democracy in America?

I've had an on-again, off-again thing with De Tocqueville's political analysis of 19th century America. When I'm into a book, I put it aside. When I'm between good books, I pick it up.

He discusses at length the progress of democracy and Liberty, and inexorably relates the advances of such with the designs of a benevolent Creator; that indeed, all things serve His ends, of which the advance of Liberty is one.

(Let's pause now, to reflect on how much this must irritate both secularists and francophiles, and how this must especially be an irritant to secular francophiles. Are you reflecting? Good. Interesting, isn't it?)

So I'm getting philosophical here... the disappointment of yesterday's election is gone. In less than 24 hours, I've gone from disappointed to angry to reflective to optimistic to hopeful and finally resolved. Thank God Almighty, I say, for the peace of mind that comes with Faith and His guidance. As Alexis might say, if he could talk to us now: remember that all things serve the Lord, even those that do so unwittingly.

I've made an appointment with the head of the Township Republican party for Monday. I already told him I'm excited about volunteering and getting active in the party. You can bet your *ss that I'm going to be talking with everyone I can about small-R republican principles and the concept of balanced government - and citing Federalist #45 with regularity. In short, I'm taking myself off of the sideline and into the game. My fervent prayer is: may He use me as His instrument.

I'm getting involved - and am thankful for the wake up call!

27 comments:

Samuel Adams said...

Thank you.

Daniel Webster said...

"I'm getting involved - and am thankful for the wake up call!"

Sir,

You've been involved, but like me, your former involvement was on a lesser scale. I too am extending my scope of involvement in an attempt to hammer home the concept of balanced government within the only of the two parties where there remains some hope. Somebody's gotta do it.

On balance, it appears that Republican losses Tuesday amount to this: RINO losses. That brings home the concept that I think you proposed sometime back, which is - the place to cull the rinos is in the primaries...

Hey!, if you're too...whatever...to win your party's nomination, just don't run period!

J Wales said...

What happened to the "American Federalist" party idea A.H.?

Call Me Mom said...

"all things serve the Lord, even those that do so unwittingly" Good for you!

The Monarchist said...

JW,

Nothing has happened yet, but I'm still a believer that the GOP is something of an old wineskin. In other words, it's the best we've got now, but it won't likely get the job done long-term. If there's enough folks who accept the proposition of Federalism, I'll be the first guy to jump headfirst into making it happen. In the meantime, the GOP is a fine place to try and make like-minded connections. I hope it doesn't sound like I'm comparing myself to someone I have no business comparing myself to, but the example of Lincoln and the Whigs is a good study in how a third party can make it.

-AH

J Wales said...

The GOP has fumbled the ball and it's 4th and 26. Oh, and their down by 34 and it's the 4th quarter. Get in the game and pull off a miracle A.H.

The Monarchist said...

Thanks JW.

But I need you to do the same. If the ideas here are in concert with your opinions, share them with friends, family, and anyone who will listen.

It is my goal to make myself the guy who meets everyone at the township meetings and won't shut up about republican principles and balanced government. If we're right (and I wouldn't go off preaching it if I didn't believe it), it'll take and people will begin to understand.

But J, you're as important to this working as anyone else.

-AH

Daniel Webster said...

"But J, you're as important to this working as anyone else."

To that I say: "Amen, and AMEN!"

The rest of your comments are so well said, I need add nothing, Mr. Hamilton. Indeed, adding anything would just muck it up.

J, take that to heart, brother! To second Hamilton's thoughts: nothing has happened to the American Federalist ideal. It has been laying dormant for quite a while now. Now that it's rediscovered, we need good people; concerned and activated citizens to get the message out.

The call to arms is now!

P.S. Look at the majorities the democrats now hold. If they think they're gonna accomplish anything "worthwhile," they're dead wrong. They're basically in the same predicament that the Republicans have been in the last twelve years - majorities too small to effect basically anything on their agenda.

Mark my words.

J Wales said...

Granted the democrats will be their usual "useless" selves.

But I dont buy that the Republicans were powerless over the last 12 years. They werent powerless to INCREASE spending like there's no tomorrow, they werent powerless to INCREASE pork barrel earmarks, they werent powerless to INCREASE the size of government, how about the power to VETO something? The fact is they powered themselves right out of office, and the democrats will pick up right where they left off.
What a circus!

The Monarchist said...

J,

Remember, all Conservatives are Republicans now (no other place to go), but not all Republicans are Conservatives. It's OK to be disappointed in the GOP, but it's not, repeat, not OK to sit back and do nothing about it.

I think maybe what DW was getting at is this: despite a majority, the conservative part of the GOP has been stymied for years now. Medicare? Prescription drug benefit? Social Security? All reform was DOA and any left leaning legislation was supported by the RINOs.

Yours,

-AH

Daniel Webster said...

"I think maybe what DW was getting at is this: despite a majority, the conservative part of the GOP has been stymied for years now. Medicare? Prescription drug benefit? Social Security? All reform was DOA and any left leaning legislation was supported by the RINOs."

That's exactly the point. Here's another one interconnected, yet underlying...

It was never really a conservative Republican majority anyway. What you're doing, J, and what you've been doing all along, is making a fundamental error, which is to lump them all together - Republicans, democrats, and rinos - as if they're all the same.

Are you a rino or a democrat? Do you think I am, or Hamilton, or Samuel Adams? Do you think one of us, in the event that we were to run as Republicans and get elected, could do any better given the disadvantages we'd be faced with? If so, you're totally outside the realm of reason.

Here's yet another underlying point...

I get the impression, J, that you're feeling a bit vindicated in your view given republican losses on Tuesday. While I can understand your feeling that way (that's just human nature), what I cannot understand is your lumping together rinos, democrats, and conservative Republicans, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary.

But you're not the only one doing it. Senator Coburn has made statements on the heels of Tuesday's results which are pretty close to yours, with one noticeable difference - he makes a distinction between what he terms "big-government republicanism" and true Republicanism. He is right to make that distinction, but I intend to set him straight elsewhere, nonetheless.

J Wales said...

Do I feel vindicated? Not especially. Did the GOP get what they deserve? Possibly so. The typical campaign mantra well ran dry: can't toot spending when your the biggest spenders, can't toot smaller government when you've made it bigger, can't toot immigration when bazillions have crossed during your watch, can't toot balanced budget when you never have, can't toot pork barrel spending when you've fed the pigs the most.

The "lesser of two evils" mantra doesnt cut it anymore, there doesnt appear to be much of a distinction.

The bottom line gentleman is the GOP talked the talk but didnt walk the walk.

Now Washington will CONTINUE spending, bloating and pigging out all in the name of bipartisanship.

The Monarchist said...

"Now Washington will CONTINUE spending, bloating and pigging out all in the name of bipartisanship."

Possibly, you're right. But I hold out hope that with the Lincoln Chaffee's weeded out of the party, to some degree, we might have a true do-nothing Congress. We'll see if the conservatives in the GOP can reclaim the seats of power and thwart the plans of the demos.

-AH

J Wales said...

I appreciate your optimism and hope your right A.H.. It'll certainly be interesting to say the least.

Daniel Webster said...

You kill me, JW, with your facts and bottom lines as you perceive them. You've managed to convince me of one thing in all our arguing - that the way you perceive things is the way you perceive things, and that is all. And it is all on the surface. You care little about what lies beneath. So, the following is not really directed at you per se.

Here are my suggestions for starters:

"can't toot spending..." find out where all the old people live in your area. Go knock on their doors individually and tell each of them that we can no longer afford to offer them benefits they never paid for to begin with. Therefore, not only do they not stand a chance in h*ll of getting any new benefits, but we'll be cutting their existing benefits back to a level more conducive to what they paid and voted for to begin with, way back when.

"can't toot smaller government..." next, explain to them that the only way to make government smaller is to start cutting programs they've become accustomed to; that they themselves worked tirelessly to secure to themselves and their posterity years ago.

"can't toot immigration..." then explain to them that until we come to some resolution on the subject, we're gonna shut down all our borders (not exactly sure where we're gonna get the manpower, but with all the spending cuts you're proposing there oughta be plentya cash floatin' around). And don't forget to mention that there is unity on the subject across the nation, manifested in Congress, so it shouldn't be a problem to just do it.

"can't toot balanced budget..." since the people want a balanced budget amendment, we're just gonna write one in. We needn't go thru' any constitutional process to do so, e.g., Article V, nor do we need to work on it over an extended period of time - we're just gonna quit cold-turkey. Of course, everyone is willing to go along with it, making personal sacrifices and whatnot, because that's the way we Americans are - always considering what's best for the entire nation, not just our little section of it.

"can't toot pork-barrel spending..." finally, we're gonna get real radical with this'n. The easiest way to do it (not to mention the cheapest) is to just start shooting the hogs, and leaving the carcases to the buzzards. And that's exactly what we're gonna do.

Once you've managed to get the word out to all the old people, if you survive, then take those proposals to the rest of the citizenry. If you manage to escape with your life there...

Run for Congress on that platform...see where it gets ya.

J Wales said...

D. Webster said: ".... you perceive things is the way you perceive things....".

How else could I ? Are you multi-perceivable?


"you care little about what lies beneath".

Not really, there's not enough time or RAM in my computer to cover the depths of "beneath" you require.

With all due respect D.W., I dont remember mentioning cutting all of your "old people" programs. That sounds like a scare tactic of the you know who CRATS.

On the surface to me, it looks like your an apologist for the GOP and wont face the reality that they've greatly contributed to the disaster in Washington. If you dont think we should cut SPENDING, PORK, GOVERNMENT, IMMIGRATION and the like because someone's gonna lose some entitlement, you may want to re-evaluate your side of the platform.

BTW, this wasnt really directed at you per se.

Daniel Webster said...

"On the surface to me, it looks like your an apologist for the GOP and wont face the reality that they've greatly contributed to the disaster in Washington."

Yep, that's what I am. And you're right, you're right, I can't face reality. ROTFL!!!

"If you dont think we should cut SPENDING, PORK, GOVERNMENT, IMMIGRATION and the like because someone's gonna lose some entitlement, you may want to re-evaluate your side of the platform."

Ummm, I'm not the one who thinks we shouldn't cut these things. Once again, you're totally missing the point. Need I quote Noah Webster again?

I ain't got time to coddle ya, man.

J Wales said...

I dont know D., maybe I need to break out my Interpreting Parables 101 Book, or the trusty decoder ring to figure out your posts. Obviously too deep beneath the surface for me LOL!

The Monarchist said...

I think Webster's point was this... he was sarcastically pointing out that conservative principles are all fine and good, except for the fact that when you get right down to it, people aren't interested in anything except their own selfish interest. Am I close, DW?

J, I am sure you get the point that the government we have - personal feelings about it notwithstanding - is the appropriate government for the citizens we have, right?

-AH

J Wales said...

I knew it, my dadgum decoder ring is shorting out in sarcasm mode, ever since I dropped it in the ceement pond.

I dont know who's more sarcastic, Webster or Adams.

To answer your question A.H., I think our system of government is second to none when it's properly utilized.

Samuel Adams said...

Do you mean that it's the best system when your team is winning?

Hamilton's point is that if a country is full of evil people, and good people end up in office, the system is still broken.

The paradox in this situation is this: a wholly uneducated and uninformed citizenry will still elect shrewd and highly intelligent men into office, those who are very well-educated and very well-informed. The only difference is that an informed and educated citizenry with a foundation of proper American character will elect well-educated and well-informed candidates with similar character...because they have the added ability of discernment that is not possible in our present state of nuance-cracy.

Daniel Webster said...

"I think Webster's point was this... he was sarcastically pointing out that conservative principles are all fine and good, except for the fact that when you get right down to it, people aren't interested in anything except their own selfish interest. Am I close, DW?"

Yep, that's about the size of it. In fact, I think conservative principles are pretty outstanding. Too bad very few of us hold to them anymore.

"J, I am sure you get the point that the government we have - personal feelings about it notwithstanding - is the appropriate government for the citizens we have, right?"

"To answer your question A.H., I think our system of government is second to none when it's properly utilized."

**scratches head, rolls eyes, inconspicuously moves to soundproof room** WHERE THE bleep, bleeeeep, bleep bleep, and WHAT THE bleep, bleeeeep bleep, bleep....AND WHY THE, bleeeeep, bleep bleep, bleep bleep bleep....AND WHEN EVER DID bleep, bleeeeeeeep, bleep bleep, bleeeeeep?!?!?! LOL

Okay, JW, here's the deal...

You're just going through the motions, man. Why would you answer Hamilton that way? Your answer don't even apply to the question as he asked it, for goodness' sake. Plus, everyone believes that anyway. The key is how each individual defines your terminology: "utilized properly." Ask 100 Americans, and you'll probably get about 100 different versions.

But I ask you this: When have you ever, in your lifetime, witnessed this government "utilized properly?"

Take your time.

P.S. sarcasm is one of the best forms of rhetoric when it's "properly utilized." Notwithstanding that, I think you probably have Samuel and I both beat. ;)

J Wales said...

Holy Moses! Uncle, uncle, uncle! ROFL! You guys crack me up! Define "when", define "it's", define "properly", define "utilize". Where's my attorney Mr.Twister???!!!!

Here's an analogy:

You load a software program into your computer, for a while it works pretty flawlessly, life is good. Slowly over time the program is infiltrated by viruses, trojans, or worms of some sort and slowly corrupts the program. The program begins to become inefficient, slow, bogged down, unreliable and maybe even crashes. It no longer functions proprerly as originally designed because it's been corrupted.

Have I ever witnessed this government properly utilized? Probably not.

Let me help you out now; define "corrupt", define "program", define " as", define "slowly", define "time".

LOL!!! a little JW sarcasm.

Daniel Webster said...

The answer is "No," J, you've never seen this government utilized properly. "Probably not" leaves room for its having been utilized properly during your lifetime. And there's not a single American still living who can say that with a straight face - if they know the slightest thing about the original design, that is.

Elsewise, your analogy is a pretty good one, so I'm proud of ya. But as we who utilize analogous language a lot recognize full well, you'll never find a perfect one. If you ain't real good at it, having an extensive knowledge of the two subjects of your analogy - that's the key to utilizing analogies, make sure you know both subjects in depth before ya use 'em - they can rather confuse the heck out of ya, than to clarify your meaning if ya don't.

No-one's asking you to define every term, all joking aside. Perhaps I should have used a better term than "define." The point is this - some folks think our government is "utilized properly" in one area, while it's not in another. Others think it's not in the former, but it is in the latter. Others still think it's wholly utilized improperly, and etc... - so there's a lot of differences of opinion as to what that term means. These people are voters, and they vote on what that term means to them, whether they express it that way or not. But your "it's second to none when utilized properly" answer is so vague and generalized, it's almost meaningless. You'd be hard-pressed to find a liberal who wouldn't agree with that answer, but they'd probably never challenge you on it as expressed.

There's no unity to be found in generalizations (not the kind that'll effect the kinds of changes you're looking for), for generalizations consist in particulars, and THAT is where people begin to part ways. Indeed, I think I can safely speak for Hamilton and Adams when I say "we're in absolute agreement with you that our government, when properly utilized, is second to none without a doubt." So what the heck are we arguing about? Think about it.

Samuel Adams said...

I can agree with that, Mr. Webster. Like I said earlier, right now, I bet the Colts think the whole NFL system is a well-oiled machine, while the Lions have been under the oppressive heel of a corrupt tyrranical dictatorship for quite a while. "When you have a very good lawyer, your country has the best judicial system in the world."

J Wales said...

I dont know what the heck y'all would do without me, nobody to spar with. What a country!!

I love you guys, even Adams!

Daniel Webster said...

"I dont know what the heck y'all would do without me, nobody to spar with. What a country!!"

"I love you guys, even Adams!"

J, you know we love you too, brother!! Now, go tell all your friends about what great guys we are, and what a great blog we have. And don't forget "balanced." Not to mention that if you like a good sparring match, we're eager and willing.

BTW, when I call ya JW, I'm a little perturbed at ya. Whereas, when I call ya J, you're back in my good graces....thought you oughta know that. ;)

"What a great country" indeed! That's exactly what I said when I learned to fly. However, when I started pricing airplanes, and the reasons for which they are so expensive, my enthusiasm was tempered a bit.

Oh yeah, one of the smartest people I've ever had the pleasure to meet and develop a relationship with, is none other than Mr. Samuel Adams. Whether you like him or not, he's certainly deserving of your respect.