Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I can feel safe now, the Constitution protects me...

The New Yorker's Andy Borowitz written to reassure us that we don't have to worry -- because change is impossible.

Integrity Disqualifies Sanders for White House - The New Yorker

The effective Unites States Constitution maintains that, in addition to being native born and 35, one must be  part of a "network of cronyism and backroom deals [which is] required under our system to be elected."

This is a triumph of social engineering: "Our political system has been refined over the years specifically to keep [certain types of people]  out of the White House...The system works.”

And to think, I was just writing about feeling glum about Scottland.

Liberty and Union...

I have looked, rather glumly, at the Scottish move to secession, and one comment encapsulated my problem with it.

On Weekend Edition Sunday, there was an interview with Val McDermid, in which she said:
And so I looked at the kind of decisions that have been coming out of the Scottish Parliament since we had some power over our own affairs. And it seemed much more in tune with my own ideas than what comes out of the Westminster Parliament.
The Scotts represent a region which votes with differently (and with greater uniformity) from the (much) of the rest of Britain.  I am hard pressed to see much difference between this and the petitions to secede following Obama's reelection, or those who want to create new states out of old ones.

In the early part of the 19th century, one of the issues that caused conservative in Europe to doubt the staying power of the American 'Republican Experiment', was the belief that a system which derived its legitimacy from some popular consent could avoid be torn apart by faction and secession.

Though we do not hear it with our ears of today, this was what Lincoln was referring in the Gettysburg address, particularly in the closing sections -- people had predicted that a Civil War and dissolution was the natural end of 'government by the people.'

The appetite for secession, not only in Scotland, is fundamentally a challenge to a notion of nation and representative and constitutional democracy (I would use the work republicanism, but that is not apropos when there is a monarch).  That if we lose we leave.  Never mind that the prior PM was a Scott, or that the union allowed Scottland to have a higher standard of living than most the the rest of the UK, at least up through the first several decades of the 20th century.

The mirror of this was the majoritarianism of Thatcher, who savaged the industrial economy of the UK -- which hit the Scotts particularly hard -- on the basis of "We won the election, we don't have to listen."  I know some who argue that these actions and the finanicalization of the British economy justify Scottish secession.

In either case, 'my' triumphs over 'ours'.  'My ideology' is ascendent (for now) so I don't have to listen to you, 'my ideas' have not convinced the rest, so I will not stay with you.

Neither of these acknowledge to temporary nature of the present or that there is anything permanently of value in a larger community.

What this means for the EU (which the Scotts wish to join) is open to question.

We are in a "Thyestean Feast," in the west, with the break down of any notion of an organic union in our communities. I think because it is so useful for the powerful deny a common good -- and so the lowly believe it too.  We thus become unwilling to sacrifice, and worse yet are never even asked.

So, I am glum about the Scotts, because this is a sign that I am a fool to want to still be able to think big, be bounded to a community of real value and scope, and secure liberty.  I fear that it is a symptom of lights going off.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014