Call out the instigators
Because there's something in the air
We've got to get together sooner or later
Because the revolution's here, and you know it's right
And you know that it's right
We have got to get it together
We have got to get it together now
- Thunderclap Newman*
America was founded upon the idea that government should do the minimum necessary to ensure that people would be left free for "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" in whatever manner they deemed most appropriate for themselves.
In a rather elegant piece of linguistic legerdemain (and I mean that in the most positive way) John Opie discerns the contradiction at the core of the "campaign finance" restrictions on free speech:
This caught my eye in today's WSJ's Best Of The Web Today from James Taranto.
You'll have scroll down a bit: it's about campaign financing.
The killer quote:
In other words, as a result of the Watergate-era campaign finance restrictions, it is now settled law that congressmen are sufficiently corruptible that they can't be trusted with campaign donations of more than a few thousand dollars.
But what James Taranto says is particularly relevant:
Which raises the question: How can they be trusted with our tax dollars?
The answer, of course:
Government in general can never be trusted: that is one of the reasons why the US constitution is such a subversive document. It says that people can criticize the government, that the government can't disarm them, that the government has only those rights explicitly given to them and all other rights belong to the people, not the government.
... the US Constitution is the most subversive document ever published. With it, citizens can deny tyrants and the corrupt from taking over the system, and the system of checks and balances has, as we've recently seen, even worked when only one part of the system refuses to countenance the sins of the other two.
Since WWII there has been tremendous momentum in favor of trans-national elites controlling a greater and greater share of global power. There were a great many extremely salutary effects which flowed from the increased internationalism of the post-war elites. Two large blocs unable to fight wars directly with each other (through the intercession of MAD) meant that the world became more peaceful in almost every sense. With the resolution of the Cold War and (temporary) discrediting of collectivism, the world rapidly became even more peaceful and prosperous. Although it often seems counter-intuitive, wars are claiming less lives today (and most wars are now being fought within individual countries or with non-state actors) than at any time in the last century. Further, people are moving out of abject poverty at an incredible rate (though the world wide recession has slowed the growth of the global middle class since 2008.) The paradox fueling much of the elite discontent, however, is that once people have achieved a middle class existence (with increased personal autonomy and more time) they begin to chafe at the restrictions their increasingly out of touch rulers design for them. The failure of the elites to enact what is euphemistically called "healthcare reform" or for the international elites to enact an AGW agenda designed to enhance their power (and wealth) at the expense of the world's middle class, should be instructive.
[Although I could not find the original citation this morning, in my post I included this prescient comment:
First of all, I share Warren's optimism; we have already seen, in these earliest days of the blogosphere, how falsehoods and outright lies (even when "false but accurate") have been exposed by individuals using their ability to reason and research. Not long ago I predicted that the Anthropomorphic Global Warming alarmists had already lost the mimetic battle (though they didn't know it then, and still don't.) [Emphasis added-SW] In consonance with Warren's description, the "traditional information and educational Gatekeepers and for traditional bureaucrats, politicians and power mongers," exemplified by the UN, continue to spout alarmist nonsense about AGW. They continue to propose various plans to rescue the planet, all of which would increase the regulatory and tax burden on the successful while enhancing the power of themselves. Yet none of these plans will ever come to fruition.]
Warren Bonesteel included these comments in his post:
This is a true mega-trend. We're going to see more signs of credibility and accountability as the primary standard of interactions. We're already witnessing the decline of unquestioned (and almost) religious respect for those who have lengthy CV's, high social status and other traditional credentials. We're also seeing a rise in creativity and in the sharing of ideas. There are even now growing trends in multi-disciplinary approaches to problem solving, no matter the venue or discipline. There also appears to be a growing trend towards Open Source works in nearly every discipline, particularly among those who wish to make the world a better place to live. Most of mankind's traditional institutions are so far behind the curve on these issues that they will never see it coming.
The media, our cultural and social institutions, the powerbrokers and politicians no longer control the memes and narratives of our society. The changes that we are going to see will be deep and profound. I have had a very positive feeling about the future since I — finally — understood what I was seeing. What is happening won't end in Xanadu or Utopia, but, in time, it should result in much better scenarios than we presently face as a world culture and society.
One point one billion People around the world are on the internet, with another one billion people projected to join them in less than five years. For our traditional information and educational Gatekeepers and for traditional bureaucrats, politicians and power mongers, this is fearsome news, indeed. For the rest of us, this is empowerment of a type and kind never before seen or imagined. This is true Democracy.
Future currency for everyone will be credibility and transparency. Indeed, that is even now becoming the 'currency' for us all. That credibility is predicated upon accountability. If we do not tell the truth, if we do not strive for accuracy in our spoken and written words, we will be held accountable. If we are not willing to accept correction or admit to our mistakes and immediately correct them, we lose credibility.
The future will not be about ideology, ambition or agenda. It will be credibility.
Read David Brooks discussing The Populist Addiction and Bob Herbert discussing Obama’s Credibility Gap and you can appreciate that our elites are at a loss. The ground is shifting beneath their feet. It has been an accepted truth, conventional wisdom, that voters have short memories and not only do not, but can not, understand the work that their masters perform. Our legislators could tell us what was best for us and we would have little way to actually compare and contrast their policies and evaluate the outcome of their policies in a timely manner. They expected to be able to say whatever necessary to get elected and then do whatever they desired to help their constituents (especially those who were their friends and contributors) while enhancing their own power and wealth. The MSM could hold itself out as the interpreters and arbiters of reality, creating and destroying people at will. That was the source of their power and wealth. They are now entering a strange, new world for which there is no operating manual or instruction set. The new model is based on credibility and they have none.
The elites will not go down quietly. They are fighting a rear guard action, especially in Europe and Canada, as per Mark Steyn:
As I mentioned the other day, Ezra Levant, my comrade in the battle to restore free speech to Canada, is being sued by the same Islamist sock puppet who attempted to make me legallly unpublishable up north. Robert Sibley in the Ottawa Citizen puts it this way:
Awan and his Muslim friends weren’t really concerned about rights or justice or wanting to be treated the same as other Canadians. Nope, it was all about making it too expensive for anyone to dare criticize Islam.
They are aided in that objective by the soft totalitarianism of the multicultural state, which in Europe and Canada increasingly presumes the right to police the citizenry's opinions in the interests of social mediation. [Empahsis mine-SW] ... Robert Rubin writes:
A state that puts people on trial for things they’ve said, written, or drawn — as have the Netherlands and Canada's human rights commissions, to name but two — is no longer a truly democratic country. Or how about the United Kingdom where, for example, a blogger who accurately depicted an Anglican cleric as a Holocaust denier and an associate of Islamist terrorists received a threatening visit by police? In the same country, the police tried to prosecute a television network for showing videos of sermons taken inside mosques, though a court finally ruled that the police (that is, the taxpayers) had to pay damages to the television network.
The Islamo-left alliance is attempting to criminalize discussion of public policy. As Geert Wilders's Dutch prosecutors admit, whether what he says is true is not relevant; the very act of raising the subject is illegal.
America must remain the beacon on the hill. With Congress in Democrat hands and a soft ideologue of the left in the White House, we could have easily embarked on a slow descent to Euro-style despotism. Our system is self correcting to an extent that is impossible in most of the world.
On Sept 11, 2001 we discovered we were at war. Since that time there has been a great deal of commentary concerning the myriad ways in which the state must be empowered to protect us, along with significant commentary about the myriad ways in which the super-empowered individual was eroding the power of the state. There was an additional lesson learned on that terrible day, however. The passengers on Flight 93 showed that empowering individuals went in both directions. Now we have Tea Parties, but even more important than the Tea Parties are the empowered individuals, using nothing more than their minds and curiosity, who have punctured the elite monopoly on their constructed reality.
The trend lines are lining up nicely.
*Thunderclap Newman was a "one hit wonder" from the late 1960s; from wikipedia:
In 1969, Pete Townshend, The Who's guitarist, created the band to play songs written by the former Who chauffeur, drummer/singer/guitarist John "Speedy" Keen (miscredited as "Keene" on the single's label). Keen wrote the opening track on The Who Sell Out album, "Armenia City in the Sky". Townshend produced the single, played its bass guitar under the pseudonym Bijou Drains, and hired for it GPO engineer and Dixieland jazz pianist Andy "Thunderclap" Newman (born Andrew Laurence Newman, 21 November 1942, Hounslow, Middlesex) and the fifteen year old Glaswegian, Jimmy McCulloch.
I imagine they thought their lyrics to Something in the Air were stirring, in a martial, revolutionary sense; today the lyrics are now mostly heard on TV commercials and on Golden Oldie stations. The wonderful irony is that the song reflects a truly revolutionary idea and the new elites are the target.
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