Sunday, June 17, 2012

Our Form of Democracy

When I write, "Our Form of Democracy," it is based upon the mis-conception that we, as Americans, live in a democracy. As much as advocates can assert that we are de facto living in a democracy, the truth is closer to the understanding that we live in a republic. We don't directly vote, as citizens, in order to implement law. We elect representatives to speak for us. And, as messy as this has been, it has--in my opinion--worked out fairly well. The difference is, we don't live in a democracy, and this was as was designed by our Constitutional Framers.

What most of us think of as law can best be described as proscriptive; dont' speed, don't steal, don't murder. Mosaic Law is seen in the main as proscriptive. The "thou shalt nots". (As a side note, since we're looking at electing a Mormon for the first time, is a curious note about Mormonism. They don't only have the shalt nots, but have "shalls.")

There are times when I have the feeling that the least educated amongst us, are those who claim the greatest levels of education. Teachers and professors. There are current educational themes that one finds oneself rubbing up against, that asserts that the foundational writers of our American Constitution were lacking in certain types of understanding. You can hear this refrain when issues of differences come up; race, sexual preference, productivity.

The argument fails, most notably in its lack of new information. There is nothing new to be found in current arguments against our form of government. What we find ourselves dealing with is old arguments being re-iterated, under the mantle of Progressivism. Which, itself, is over an hundred years old, as a movement. What is so progressive with a movement that can be traced back, at least an hundred, seventy years?

But in the instant, what are the arguments being offered by the Left? Let's look at race, sexual preference and productivity. Race is important because differences in race is given as a reason for economic harm. Sexual preference is seen as a harm because differences in sexual preference is given as a reason for economic harm. Productivity is seen as an harmful measure, since differences in productivity are given as a reason for economic harm. I think it's interesting that most, if not all, arguments from the Left about the failures of the conservative American model of self-governance tend to center around economic arguments, since none of the adherents of modern Progressivism seem to have any semblance of understanding of how economic systems work, either in the micro-economic, or in the macro-economic sense of economics. That is, most argument against the current system we work under--loosely defined as the free-market, or capitalist system--neither criticises markets or capitalism, but the results of this system that fails to meet their burden of proof of "fairness."


It is inarguable that race was an important determinant of economic success for years. But not in the way that the revisionists wish to portray race. Revisionists wish to portray the European Invasion of the New World in a way that is consistent, and yet the history of the European Invasion isn't consistent in one regard; the way that immigrants to the New World treated the residents found upon arrival. I'm not sure that the view the Hurons held against these "new tribes" were viewed as subjectively different from their view of the Cuyoga. Or, Seneca.  And by "new tribes," I mean groups of people unfamiliar to those viewing them for the first time. The French spoke french. The English, english. Dress was different, customs were different. Were early Settlers to be viewed correctly as "racist"? What we call "indians" were more like us, than not like us. They spoke different languages, their custom in dress was different. Their tools were primative when compared to the tools of the early European settlers. Was their culture subjectively inferior to the culture of the emigres?

Not at all.

The contact we had with the West following Columbus' discovery was as startling as the contact we had with Jodie Foster in the movies. No less than Thomas More, in Utopia, has a discovery had more impact on the view of a society. European society. The society that was advancing away from the status quo of Europe, to the New World. The impact of opening the Euro-centrism of political and philosophy from Rome, Paris, London, Madrid, etc., to a New World? How to describe the potential of this new discovery? From 1492 to 1776 religions, national boundaries, and more importantly ideas, changed.

It's been some time since I've read Utopia, but the idea that something approaching Biblical proportions being possible, here on earth, was advanced. Reading Milton one is filled with ideas of hope and change that were dependent upon the unknown. The stories that came back to Europe, of the native men and women running around half-naked, carrying their children in papooses, living off the land, created a fictional narrative that we still find ourselves subject to, today. But more important than the fictions being created of the New World were the rational narratives finding voice about this important philosophical starting point; the State of Nature.

What we've been led to believe, is that early reports of the inhabitants Europeans found in the New World were denigrated, as naked savages. That is not the case. The inquiry into the West was centered around the comparison between the centrism of feudal and ducal estates, and the dispersion of apparent authority found in these new territories. When the Mayflower hit Massachusetts in  1620, more than an hundred years had passed from the first crossing by Columbus. In the interim, the French had established settlements in the West, as had the Spanish, and Dutch.

Was race an issue in 1492? In 1620? I don't think the question has any merit. Were different people coming into contact? Sure. Were there stark cultural differences? Yes. When a party of 50 Mohicans could wipe out your settlement, was there an issue of race? Or, a difference in who was attempting to assert control?

Race is a by-product of difference. If all your opponents are of a singular outward appearance, then, I guess you may feel that race is an issue. "Look, they are darker, they wear different clothes, and they don't speak our language." Is this racial? Again, I don't think so. "Red men" aren't really red. Not all Indians have "high cheekbones."

And yet, if I was to assert that eastern Indians looked more like Jews, and western Indians looked more like Japanese, don't be surprised to find that a great deal of time and money has been spent in order to inquire whether or not this type of speculation is fanciful or significant. Race is important to some people. But to the recent arrival from Holland, none of this is useful. If you're a Mohawk living in New York today, chances are you've a job waiting for you. Is this racist?

Sexual preference.

If you're a Progressive, what does it say about you when one of your most important issues is about sexual preference? Talk about tongue-in-cheek. I don't know what you've read about Sanger, but she's one of the icons of the modern Progressive movement. Somewhere amongst dwarves and gypsies are homosexuals. That today we find Progressives arm-in-arm with homosexuals should sound a certain clarion call amongst homosexuals. Progressives are quick to turn on those they feel inferior. Just as soon as their authority is unquestioned.


If you're not productive, what is it about you? You live in a land replete with the fruits of productivity, and yet you decry the notion that productivity, being useful to those around you, is a form of discrimination.

So, here are three issues; racism, sexual preference and productivity. These are the themes of the President's re-election campaign.

You know, when you think about it, there's really not so much there, there. Is there?


MAX Redline said...

Much the same can be said for homosexual marriage: the main goal appears to be economic in nature.

On the colonists in North America: one of the reasons they found it so comparatively easy to establish themselves is due to the fact that in the decade preceding their arrival, some 90% of Indian populations had been killed by virulent disease which spread through their extensive trading networks.

Indeed, some of their cities had populations exceeding that of London. The Mound in western Illinois near present-day East St. Louis and Collinsville is a huge edifice, containing soils mined from sites hundreds of miles away.

Ten Mile Island said...


Thanks for moving the conversation forward!

MAX Redline said...

I spent a number of kid-years in the area, visited Dixon Mounds and other sites, became interested in actual Indian history.

M. Simon said...

The truth is (look around you) that money and to some extent brains (that is new) control and "democracy" or even "republican democracy" is just a safety valve.

Ten Mile Island said...

Dear M.--

Putting those words together may be possible, but not necessarily the result when data combines with information.

The truth is the truth. Whether or not you or I are able to perceive it...well, there you are. Is perception truth? Not always.

Are "brains" better? Or, worse? Shall we institute Brains Tests? I'm one of those doddering old fools who believes that there have been no noticeable improvements in "brains" for at least some thousands of years. (Notice, that I have to interpret your comment.)

Have you read the thinking behind Citizens? If so, then you know that "freedom of association" remains one of our fundamental freedoms. In terms of "safety valves," it is true that I think that most of our younger citizens believe that there is no hazard to having poorly held, or poorly defined opinions. It is true, in my opinion, that in the main, we don't need government, at all. That is, the best use of government is a way to make sure that we have public roads, public libraries, public water systems.

Beyond that, not so much. Nationally? Defense. Interstate highways, perhaps.

Safety valves? Hmm.