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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Coming of the Fourth American Republic

I see the Democrat Party as consisting of a collection of parasites on the productive economy that has lost any capacity to understand that they all depend on a healthy host. The groups regard the economy as a commons, and each is determined to loot as much as possible for as long as possible, regardless of the long term. Democrats make corresponding claims about the Republicans, of course.

...In the United States, legitimacy is conferred by elections, but it is not total. Through the ages, the basic question mark about democracy as a form of government has been that 51 percent of the electorate can band together to oppress the minority—“the tyranny of the majority” is a valid concern. To address it, the United States has a formal written Constitution to guarantee basic rights, but it also has an unwritten constitution that sets limits on how far the winners can push their victories. Exceed the amorphous bounds, and not only does the minority no longer accept the legitimacy of the government, many members of the majority coalition will have a guilty conscience as well, knowing that their acquiescence to the demands of one of their allies was a bad deed. As Thomas Jefferson said, “Great innovations should not be forced on slender majorities.”

Over the past few years, political winners have become increasingly aggressive, culminating in President Obama’s recent “We won” as an assertion of an unlimited mandate. Losers have become increasingly restive, ready to attack the legitimacy of the winners’ victory. Bush, in particular, was the target of an amazing and consistent campaign of de-legitimizing, and the opposition to Obama is on a hair trigger.

The merits of the case in each instance is a topic for another day, but the problem is a fact, and an important one. In particular, if each party is regarded by the other as a principle-free alliance of special interests, eager to claim the government so as to loot the other side, then a large chunk of legitimacy is lost. All that remains of that concept depends on the government’s ability to deliver overall economic prosperity and national defense, and if the rulers falter in either of these realms, they will receive no slack. Nor should they.

The frog in the pot of water will stay there if the heat is raised slowly enough. Turn up the heat suddenly and he will jump. The Tea parities are an indication that the frog is feeling the heat.

Read the whole thing.

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