Two things are worth pointing out about the imminent passing of the Liz Cheney media phenomenon. First, she is the type of elite that our Founders, namely, Jefferson, warned us about: The sort of person who, once ensconced in the capital city court culture, acquires most or all of the affectations and vices of the very governing elites he or she previously had sworn to oppose.
This has always been a temptation for newcomers to Washington, even those who start out as brash conservative or populist firebrands. Indeed, two of the most reviled anti-Establishmebr figures in American nation politics, Richard Nixon and Barry Goldwater, both yielded to these temptations. And why wouldn’t they?After years of assiduously seeking and holding onto power in the capital of the most powerful and influential nation on earth, men and women expect a return on such a long investment and, even more, r-e-s-p-e-c-t from their peers.
They have rubbed elbows with colleagues, mostly liberals, who are lionized after retirement or death, by the court (i.e., Mainstream) media. How can they help but envy that? They’re politicians, after all.
Many conservatives from former presidents to sitting Supreme Court justices have yearned for some measure of hagiographic treatment – an acknowledgement within elite quarters that they have “grown in office” and, in the course of which, acquired a measure of the intellectual depth and gravitas afforded their more (in the opinion of elite media) deserving liberal counterparts.
Recall that the late Chief Justice Warren Burger, a Nixon appointee and the graduate of night law school, embraced affirmation action dogma, apparently with the intention of brandishing his intellectual bona fide.
But again, they’re only human.
Yet, in many cases, this grudging respect or tempered adulation, however it is expressed, is invariably extracted at a price. And in Cheney’s case, she can virtually rest assured that the media will consume and digest her, disregarding every bit that can’t be extracted to their advantage.
She will be briefly hailed as a thoughtful and courageous GOP maverick, perhaps invited as a speaker at the 2024 Democratic Party Convention, and then tossed aside and forgotten until, some 30 years from now, when she’s afforded a limousine ride from her assisted living facility to the Kennedy Presidential Library to receive a “Profiles in Courage” Award presented by some distant Kennedy descendant.
Of course, that is what our elite class and their media enables do: They enlist and rehabilitate for temporary political expediency conservative political leaders whom they have previously reviled as reactionary, if not racist.
In the poem “Die Lösung,” written after the East German Communist state’s brutal suppression of the June 17, 1953 Workers Uprising, playwright Bertholdt Becht pointed out the remarkable fact that the regime actually distributed leaflets stating that “the people had forfeited the confidence of the government and [that they] could only win it back by increased work quotas.” Brecht then employed this brilliant rhetorical punch, phrased as a question, which struck at the very heart of this autocratic, self-serving regime: “Would it not in that case be simpler for the government to dissolve the people and elect another?”
Reflect on this for moment: The U.S. Democratic Party is proceeding with a remarkably similar objective firmly in mind. It realizes that its path to permanent power – that is to say, vanguard party status not all that different from the East German Socialist Unity (i.e., Communist Party) – lies in demographic replacement of current voters with immigrants, overwhelmingly illegal immigrants. And here is the really frightening part: It very likely will achieve its goal.
Even so, Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson has summoned the gargantuan fortitude to call out this strategy. And, predictably, all facets of left, particularly its agit/prop organs (i.e., Mainstream Media, Silicon Valley and unofficial censorship bureaus) are baying for cancelation of Carlson’s program.
Speaking as an avid Star Trek fan, I’m reminded of the Borg collective’s awakening and perfervid activity in response to anything it perceives as a threat to its vital functioning. And make no mistake: While at this point Carlson is little more than David battling Goliath, he has laid bare the Democrats’ paramount operating strategy: demographic replacement.
And let’s consider all of this alongside all the other advantages that the Democrats also have now secured. Not unlike the East German Communist Party in the decades following the suppression of its workers, the party has drawn close, horrifyingly close, to its ultimate goal of controlling the narrative through its command of all the major sources of cultural power: Mainstream Media, Silicon Valley, Big Entertainment, most of the federal bureaucracy and, even more alarming, the national security apparatus.
The Democratic Party is now even poised to squelch all forms of dissent, largely by applying the labels “Racist!” and “White Supremacist!” to them.
Underscoring the extent to which the party controls the narrative and displays many of the traits of a vanguard party, its leaders now openly extol a future in which this will be achieved – when states are transformed from red to purple and eventually to solidly and reliably blue states. Its objectives are hiding in plain sight and its operatives even feel confident enough to express this aspiration publicly, albeit in slightly veiled form.
As Carlson stresses, the party’s no longer interested in winning over voters through conventional rhetorical appeals, which have distinguished party politics in this country for more than two centuries, but rather, in unmistakable East German regime style, stacking the electoral deck unscrupulously and in ways that virtually guarantee their political hegemony for generations to come.
The Democratic Party now harbors such unbridled contempt for U.S. voters that it now has set about replacing them with an electorate of its own. And it is so caught up in it sense of entitlement and historical inevitability that it can’t even brook one lone political commentator who has summoned the temerity to call them out on it.
That is why Democratic Party should be regarded for what it is: a throughly corrupt, proto-totalitarian party, one that deserves nothing but our searing, undying contempt.
The incomparable Victor Hanson Davis weighs in again on the deeply disturbing trend of rising intolerance of whites.
He raises a point, one that has always fascinated me, about how rhetoric, particularly political forms of it, are subject to endless mutation. And as he stresses, one of the most disturbing examples of this is reflected in the increasing use of the term “whiteness” among liberal and progressives to describe the underlying pathology with American society.
Until recently, the common term was white privilege, though it ultimately proved inadequate in the face of everyday reality. After all, as Hanson observes, it’s simply untenable to argue that “a white Dayton, Ohio tire-changer is innately blessed in a way an unfortunate Eric Holder or Jay-Z purportedly is not.” So, consequently, white privilege has given way simply to “whiteness,” which, needless to say, evokes disturbing parallels to “Jewishness,” of which the Nazis made such ready use in the years leading up to their seizure of power.
Plenty of ordinary people, certainly when engaged in private discourse with family and friends, readily discern the genocidal implications of this rhetoric.
Yet, there are legions of whites, even those from comparatively stereotypical “deplorable” socioeconomic backgrounds, who remain insouciant in the face of this of this rhetoric and the horrifying effects it likely will produce over the next few generations.
Indeed, reading Hanson’s account earlier this morning, I was invariably reminded of a family of especially rabid “yellow-dog Democrats” in my native Northwest Alabama hometown who incongruently remain committed evangelical Christians but who still eagerly regurgitate whatever tripe their ancestral party puts in front of them.
They still hold maniacally to this identity even today as their region’s economy, largely as a result of their party’s neoliberal policies, has undergone headlong decline.
Northwest Alabama, once one of the country’s most obstinate bastions of yellow-dog Democratic sentiment, now stands as one of the reddest of red GOP bastions in the country, even as this family still waves the blue flags of dissent on social media. One even embarked on a pathetically obscene Trump rant a few months ago, invoking the f-bomb multiple times.
They are proverbial Kool-Aid drinkers. Will they ever be awakened to what is unfolding.
When their grandchildren are singled out some day in public places and beaten senseless merely for bearing white skin, they likely will still be eagerly, even perfervidly, propagating ther party’s line.
But then, some people, irrespective of political conviction, will never yield to reality, especially when the truth proves too painful to accept.
Mainstream media’s conspicuous silence in the aftermath of Biden’s very conspicuous fall on the steps leading to Air Force One is one of the many reasons reason why I will NEVER be lectured ever again by any liberal about anything.
If you’re old enough, you recall the unrelenting fun that SNL made of Republican President Gerald Ford’s repeated stumbles.
More recently, #AmericaPravda spared no effort to analyze anything and everything associated with Trump’s presumed physical and mental decline. But that is not surprising because Mainstream Media are Establishment media. They have been in service to a narrative since at least the FDR presidency and arguably earlier.
Whatever the case, American liberalism is nothing but a sick self-parody now days, evidence of this empire’s precipitous decline on all fronts, which is significantly of liberalism’s making. #LateAmerika #BrezhnevRedux
I wondered how much longer it would be before the Confederate Constitution, much like Confederate statues, would fall victim to cancel culture. Quite honestly, though, I don’t know what is more maddening: cancel culture or the intellectual laziness evincedby journalists, even relatively elite ones, who, either intentionally or unintentionally, aid and abet this malignant cultural trend.
AP journalist Jay Reeves characterizes the Confederate Constitution, which, incidentally, was debated and drafted in the Capitol in Montgomery in my native state of Alabama, as a vestige of white supremacy without even bothering to consider the document within its full historical context. And let’s make no mistake here: The Permanent Confederate Constitution was conceived within a wide intellectual and historical Anglo-American constitutional context and, for that reason alone, is worthy of serious discussion, despite its provisions safeguarding the institution of slavery.
It is appalling to me that Reeves never even bothered to explore this unusually rich context, which would have been standard practice among journalists as recently as a decade ago.
A Watershed Document
Before public discourse became so poisoned, the Confederate Constitution, despite the controversy associated with it, would have been characterized by some writers and academics as a watershed document, one that represented the outcome of a protracted, intense and often acrimonious debate on the nature and scope of federal power that began immediately following the drafting of the U.S. Constitution in 1789.
The Permanent Confederate Constitution could be accurately characterized as embodying the Jeffersonian School argument, which maintains that the federal government – the “general government,” as it was characterized by many in the decades following constitutional ratification – simply functioned as the agent of the contracting sovereign states. This was underscored by the Confederate Constitution’s preamble, which affirmed that each state, in ratifying the document, was acting in its “sovereign and independent character.”
Aside from reaffirming the Jeffersonian view of federal power, this revised constitution also introduced some remarkable innovations that not only are instructive today but that still hold currency as contemporary Americans struggle to rein in federal power and even more significant, contend with mounting interest in sectionalism and even secession. Indeed, the case could be made that these innovations are especially relevant today amid new sectional divisions pitting predominantly liberal blue-coastal states against predominantly and implacably conservative red heartland states – issues not all that different from the ones that plagued federal relations in the early 19th century.
A Six-Year Presidency and a Line-Item Veto
One notable innovation was how the Confederate framers altered the office of the presidency, both limiting and strengthening it. While restricting the chief executive to a single 6-year term, the Confederate Constitution also empowered him with line-item veto power. Such a constitutional prerogative potentially would have gone a long way toward reining in the Leviathan federal state, one that not only extends its hand into increasing facets of American life but even holds tremendous sway over the affairs of nations in far-fling corners of the world. Moreover, with such a constitutional safeguard, we likely wouldn’t be contending today with a $20-million deficit.
The constitution also prohibited Congress from levying protective tariffs that tended to benefit one section of the country over others, an issue that proved contentious in the formative stages of the young American Republic and that virtually rent it apart in the early 1830’s.
The long-term effects of protective tariffs arguably have had an especially deleterious effect on the fortunes of American development and national cohesiveness, not only by allowing one section of the country, namely, the mercantile Northeast, to grow rich at the expense of most of the others but also by enabling it to transform much of the rest of the country, notably the war-ravaged, economically prostrate post-Civil War South, into an economic extraction zone.
Reining in Federal Judicial Power
In what arguably could be regarded as the most noteworthy innovation of them all, state legislatures were entitled to remove corrupt or constitutionally unscrupulous federal judges living in their states by a two-thirds vote of both houses. Ponder for a moment all of the contentious 21st century issues that could have been resolved by this provision. It would have obviated the need for state legislatures to resort to strategies such as interposition and nullification that contributed significantly to two serious constitutional crises stemming from passage of the Alien and Sedition Acts in 1798 and the Tariff Act of 1828. Each of these contributed significantly to the protracted political impasse that culminated in a national breakup in 1861. Even more significant, though, such a constitutional safeguard likely would have contributed significantly not only to higher levels of restraint in the judicial branch but also in the federal legislative branch, as lawmakers would been more cognizant of the futility of passing laws that encroached on state sovereignty.
Yes, the Confederate Constitution was both an innovative and instructive, one among a long line of written constitutions within the Anglo-American tradition, one that also incorporates those of Commonwealth realms. And that is why it, along with others, should figure in prominently in any undergraduate or graduate coursework dealing with the protracted historical debate about the nature and scope of central power within a federal system. But like so much else in woke 21st century America, the Confederate States Constitution is now so thoroughly tainted by the stigma of white supremacy that it can never be regarded as anything more than a “forgotten relic of an ignoble cause,” borrowing Reeves’ description, and, consequently should remain locked away in archive and forgotten.
This only ensures that substantive debate in this country will grow even more constrained. But, of course, by now it should have dawned on most of us that this is one of the underlying aims of wokeness and cancel culture, which aren’t so much about fairness and inclusiveness as they are about stigmatizing views that threaten their hegemonic standing within American politics and culture.
Reeves’ article only served to underscore that we no longer function aa vibrant, open and free society, only one that pretends to be. And many of us are beginning to wonder how much longer elites, increasingly confident of the political and cultural power they increasingly wield, will bother with maintaining this pretension.
Remember mad anchorman Howard Beale’s admonition in Network (1976) that television was the most “awesome goddamned propaganda force in the whole godless world!”? Well, the hapless Mr. Beale only got it partly right. The most awesome force in the world is American culture, a phenomenon that now drives much of the dialogue and culture throughout the Western world and beyond.
As we approach the second quarter of the 21st century, we’re seeing the cresting of a remarkable cultural force that was incubated by Washington’s victory at Yorktown and that has gained increasing levels of traction since the U.S. Civil War, World War I and particularly World War II, which placed this phenomenon at a particularly distinct advantage vis-a-vis its war-ravaged, materially depleted counterparts and erstwhile rivals in Western Europe.
A Pulverizing, Flattening Social Force
Indeed, looking back over the past 30 years following the collapse of of Soviet communism, it’s worth recalling how many on the left finally concluded, however reluctantly, that American culture – all the pulverizing, flattening effects associated with it – ultimately proved to be, paraphrasing Beale, history’s most awesome, radicalizing force in the whole godless world.
The whole world has been Americanized – and it leads one to wonder if any ancient institution, including one of the most ancient of all, the British monarchy – is equipped to withstand this force over the course of time.
It’s fascinating to consider all of the subtle ways that this cultural force is playing out in every facet of modern life.
The Late Prince Diana Wasn’t British
Consider the late Princess Diana, who was eulogized at her very Americanized funeral by her brother, Viscount Althrope, as a “very British girl.” Actually, she arguably wasn’t at all. Despite her very noble and very English pedigree, she embodied many of the aspirations of global American culture – a penchant for personal independence, self-expression and self-actualization.
Even her comparatively sober, responsible son, Prince William, the royal heir, has expressed his qualms about assuming the Windsor mantle and in ways that sound, well, rather American. And this really isn’t all that new. The Duke of Windsor, the former Edward VIII, who always evinced a special affinity for American culture, even incorporating American slang in his casual discourse, possibly wedded a twice-divorce American social climber as a pretense for abandoning the British throne, likely because he, too, had been infected with American notions of personal independence.
Now the monarchy is imperiled once again by an even more explicit expression of this this awesome cultural force: a grasping, b-list American actress whose personal agenda has been hiding in plain sight for the past four years, one that puts her late mother-in-law’s rather ill-defined and hastily improvised agenda to shame.
A Fresh Face among Staid but Stuffy, Lilly-White In-Laws
Some royal watchers speculate that Meghan initially harbored a desire to transform the monarchy from within, carving out her own distinct royal identity amid her staid but rather stuffy, lilly white in-laws. She aspired to be the fresh face among the Windsor clan, not only equipped to energize this thousand-year-old institution but one who, over the course of time, would be regarded as so valuable and indispensable to the Crown’s long-term success that she would be afforded the opportunity to establish her own distinct style and agenda.
Predictably and in remarkably short order, she realized this this ancient institution operated by its own time-honored and distinctly rigid rules. The full weight of this new reality fell on her carefully sculpted shoulders: She had been assigned a non-negotiable set of job responsibilities, that not only detracted her from her personal career aspirations but that also effectively consigned her to what amounted to gilded oblivion – a mere face and a tightly constrained voice consoled only by the knowledge that her fate was shared with the world’s wealthiest and most exclusive family.
She balked, predictably resorting to American arguments about one’s being entitled to happiness, self-actualization and self-expression.
Then followed disruption – the quintessential American desire for separation and a fresh start, albeit with the the tacit understanding that she would continue to profit from Windsor family connections.
While this likely amounted to a deviation from her original plan, Meghan, with poor, dimwitted Harry in tow, had drawn closer to her goal of carving out a sort of semi-autonomous woke Windsor counter-monarchy, one in she could fuse the legacies of Princess Diana, Mother Theresa, Rosa Parks and the theology of Oprahism into a neatly crafted, compellingly new alternative brand.
In time, though, elements of Plan B proved to be as problematic as Plan A, notably, running up against the Royal Family’s obstinate refusal to allow the Sussexes to profit from their residual royal ties.
A Scorched Earth Plan C.
From the Sussexes’ swanky digs in exclusive Montecito, California Meghan improvised a new, scorched earth Plan C, turning wokeness up to full throttle, accusing the Windsors of mental abuse (one of the standby American strategies in divorces and HR disputes) and even characterizing them as a vestige of white supremacy.
Granted, millions of people see through this grifting, grasping woman and have from the very start. But millions of others have predictably swallowed this Cinderella narrative hook, line and sinker, just as they did Diana’s version. Moreover, there are plenty of facets of woke elite culture, particularly within the corporate sector, that very well may lend a lucrative helping hand to the Sussexes over time. And that is precisely the outcome that Meghan planned for and expects. And she likely will be proven right.
So, it’s entirely possible, if not likely, that Meagan will be remembered generations from now as a truly singular historical figure: not only as fashion icon and trendsetter but even as a dynastic matriarch of sorts – the founder of a new, radically chic form of monarchy, one that represents a the culmination of global American culture, leavened by a heaping serving of wokism.
As memory serves, I’ve mentioned French philosopher Etienne de la Boetie a time or two in this forum.
His observations about how the fortunes of government, any government, no matter how democratic or authoritarian, ultimately rest on the sentiments of its subjects, invariably remind me of the tumultuous events culminating in the overthrow of Shah Mohammad Reza during Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.
The ways that tbe Shah’s besieged caretaker government under Shapour Baktiar desperately clung to power following the Shah’s hasty departure, issuing edict after edict, proclamation after proclamation, in the forlorn hope of reining in revolutionary discontent would have resounded with de la Boetie. He even coined a succinct phrase, which has been employed by paleo-libertarian writers time and again to describe those rare inflection points in history when a large segment of a society’s population simply has had enough, writing off governmental authority as utterly debased, illegitimate and unentitled to obedience, despite the potentially deadly consequences this behavior often invites. I have racked my brain for years and still can’t recall the phrase, though it brilliantly conveyed the essence of this historical inflection point, which invariably portends a abrupt, irrevocable break with the old order.
As de la Boetie would have anticipated, Bakhtiar’s efforts amounted to nothing, as millions of rank-and-file Iranians, obstinately ignoring all of them, pushed ahead with insurrection. Iran had reached an inflection point of popular discontent, one that bore close parallels to the descriptions of popular disillusionment that de la Boetie supplied in his own writings.
I was a high school student way back in 1979, too intellectually unsophisticated at the time to grasp the full implications of what was unfolding in Iran. But I possessed at least enough insight to discern that some sort of line had been crossed. And I also suspected that it marked not only a significant historical departure for ordinary Iranians but also a monumental shift in the geopolitical balance – namely, the ways the United States subsequently ordered its affairs in this tumultuous region.
Granted, most Americans of the time held no sympathy for radical Islam and knew that what followed would impose significant hardship for the Iranian people. But based on all the facts that we were able to garner at that time through broadcast and print media – this, after all, was almost a full generation before the advent of digital media – many of us knew that longstanding American support for the hated Pahlavi regime was a significant driving factor behind this uprising.
Empires, especially global ones, require client states, and the Shah’s regime served American interests in a variety of ways, despite their running counter to the aspirations of millions of ordinary Iranians, especially those in rural locales, far removed from the material prosperity unfolding in Iranian cities.
To be sure, “dark forces,” notably the Soviet Union, may have been working behind the scenes to exacerbate the these social, cultural and political cleavages, but I, for one, still believed that the raging anger of the Iranians was rooted in genuine grievance. Yet, who could ever had imagined that this conflagration ultimately would lead months later to the storming of the American Embassy in Teheran?
By that time I had graduated high school and enrolled in college to earn a political science degree. I can still recall almost verbatim how one professor described the embassy occupation as an event of profound geopolitical significance, one that likely would be remembered many years later as one of the watershed events of the post-war of the 20th century. He was right: Iran’s Islamic Revolution marked a significant reformulation of American strategy in the Middle East, one that would be followed by an immense expenditure of American blood and wealth.
The Pahlavi regime’s collapse not only foreshadowed the erosion of American influence in that region but also of the decline of the comparatively short-lived American Empire, which had been hastily improvised little more than a quarter century earlier to fill the breach left by a beleaguered British Empire in the aftermath of World War II.
Americans were in store for a long and arduous journey, though one punctuated by the assurances of U.S. governing elites that all setbacks were only temporary and that the expenditure of American blood, wealth and geopolitical capital to contain and ultimately to reverse the viral eruption of Islamic radicalism ultimately would tip the scales, drawing us finally toward a new flourishing of the American-fostered liberal-democratic imperium, in which democracy and secularism finally would would take root and thrive in previous inhospitable Mideastern soil.
We know better now – at least, growing numbers of us do. And we also perceive how this vast expenditure of blood and treasure in this region of the world has sapped American strength not only abroad but also at home, embodied in the decaying infrastructure and boarded store fronts as well as in the social pathology and breakdown evident on so may small cities and towns across the vast American heartland. Tens of millions also perceive how our elites, increasingly exposed, cornered and threatened as a result of the wind they sowed decades ago, have turned to the same desperate tactics to which previous ruling classes have resorted in the face of imperial decline and rising levels of discontent.
Our rulers and their media enablers characterize the occupation of the U.S. Capitol in January essentially Qanon conspiracy fearmongering run amuck. Millions of us aren’t buying it. We even suspect that decades from now, this event very well may be recalled as an turning point, perhaps even as the harbinger of a de la Boetiean-style watershed event in America not that far removed from what transpired in Iran more than two generations ago. Indeed, for tens of millions of us, this event only served to shine a light on the perfervid anger of millions of rank-and-file Americans, not only over the rot that has set into many, if not most, of this country’s political and cultural institutions but also over the ways that our governing class and their enablers (e.g., academia, media and Silicon Valley) have contributed immensely to it.
There has been a lot of chatter lately within conservative and libertarian circles about the increasing dysfunction that has set into our judicial branch, which, however ill-advisedly, now regards itself as the Union’s defender of last resort.
Lots to unpack here but I’ll return to something that I have argued before in this forum – something that was driven home to me years ago reading British constitutional scholar James Bryce’s appraisal of the American constitutional system in his classic tome The American Commonwealth, first published in 1888. Even way back then, Bryce had perceived how dysfunctional and unwieldy the federal legislative branch had become in the face of the nation’s rapid demographic and geographic expansion.
By the late 19th century it was impossible for the House of Representatives to function as a bona fide legislative assembly. Virtually all of its vital daily work was conducted via committee with all of the backroom Machiavelianism this entailed. Meanwhile, the Senate had grown far beyond its ability to function as a comparatively small, elite advisory council to the executive branch, as conceived by the constitutional framers.
By the late 19th century the judicial branch, embodied in most American minds then and now as the Supreme Court, one that was given comparatively short shrift by the Constitution by its framers, was poised for its ascent to the commanding heights of American politics and culture.
Its earliest custodians, notably Chief Justice John Marshall, had, like all elites in virtually all political systems throughout history, engineered the first tenuous steps toward an accretion of power beginning with Marbury v. Madison. But even Marshall, careful to avoid overreach and the backlash that inevitably would follow from the majority Jeffersonian camp, stepped away from one especially contentious constitutional issue of the day, conceding, however reluctantly, that the recently enacted Bill of Rights applied only the the federal government, not to the states.
The most libertarian- and constitutionalist-minded of early American statesman expressed qualms about enacting an explicit statement of rights, fearing that it ultimately would be construed by Congress or the courts as affecting state as well as federal authority.
These fears rather predictably proved prescient, following the post-Civil War passage of three constitutional amendments – the 13th, 14th and 15th – that set the Supreme Court firmly on the path toward the enunciation of the Incorporation Doctrine, which effectively worked to erode the states’ sovereignty, reducing them to de facto provinces.
Equally significant, though, is how the Supreme Court has employed the Incorporation Doctrine with many subsequent expansionist rulings in a manner that essentially has transformed it into a de facto supreme governing council – effectively, the American Union’s final arbiter.
What many observers surprisingly overlook, no doubt, intentionally in the vast majority of instances, is that the court employs enhanced powers partly to compensate for the dysfunction of the legislative branch, which the Framers regarded as the well-spring of federal policy, not to mention, the branch charged with safeguarding the balance between state sovereignty and that which had been delegated – conditionally, it should be stressed – by the states to the federal government.
The behavior and public pronouncements of the current Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and and his immediate predecessors seem to reflect this fact. The case could be made that the court has been aware for decades of the role it has served, however unconstitutional, in shoring up the deep dysfunctionality of the legislative branch, one whose efficacy has been badly eroded within the past century and a half but especially in the years after World War II when the United States emerged as a global empire..
Yet, increasingly, the Court finds itself hemmed in, if not trapped, by the demographic and cultural changes overtaking the country, many of which are of its making. One recent example: It’s decision following the 2020 election not to hear the case lawsuit challenging late changes to Pennsylvania’s election process.
Despite a thunderous dissent by Justice Clarence Thomas, two justices previously regarded as being in the tank for the right, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Comey Barrett, voted with the majority. And why should we find that at all surprising? Given the way the Mainstream Media organs characterized Thomas’ opinion as dissent bordering on sedition, it’s easy to discern why a court that they regard a majority conservative one has gotten into the habit of carefully hedging its bets.
SCOTUS, to employ one of the Orwellian Newspeak-style terms that characterizes so much of cultural and political discourse now days, is walking an increasingly thin rope. It carries on what it undoubtedly regards as a lofty and valiant struggle to safeguard not only a dysfunctional legislative branch but an increasingly divided, if not fraying, American Union. Yet, as a marginally conservative court, regarded as illegitimate by many, if not most, of our Mandarin class entirely for that reason, it imposes limits on the manner in which which it weighs in on the most pressing issues of the day.
This amounts to one of the most remarkable ironies in U.S. political history: The judicial branch that, at least for the last century, has regarded itself as the panel of last resort and that has played a major role in the sweeping changes within American society, now feels constrained and even threatened by this transformation – so threatened that is now limiting its judicial activism.
This raises a troubling question: Who mans the rudder of state, certainly during an extreme national crisis? If the legislative and judicial branches have been rendered either too dysfunctional or too threatened to step in during a major upheaval, who will?
It serves as another reminder to me and many other red heartlanders of the precarious times in which we live.
In the 2020 election, Donald Trump won 83 percent of the nation’s counties – small wonder people speak of the red American heartland- but those counties only accounted for 30 percent of the national GDP
This is a remarkable development considering that Republicans as recently as 2016 have been historically derided as the “fat cat” corporate party, though their power was limited, as they faced rather intractable opposition in the academy, public education, ths media, Silivon Valley, and the arts and entertainment sectors.
We now inhabit a country in which a single party, the Democrats, wield something approaching cultural and political hegemony, which, aside from academia, traditional and digital media and Big Entertainment, includes deepening support from the national security apparatus as well as the corporate sector.
As this column by American Consequence’s Shane Devine points out, Wall Street contributed more than $74 million directly to Biden’s campaign. Trump, by contrast, received $18 million, even less than the paltry $20 million he received in 2016.
The massive corporate support for the Democrats evident in the last two election cycles likely portends a major U.S. political realignment. As this column stresses,
Of Wall Street’s total 2020 contributions, not only to campaigns but to all political organizations, including “dark money” groups, 62% went to Democrats and 38% went to Republicans. Comparatively, in 2016, they gave 50% to Republicans and 49% to Democrats. In 2012, they gave 69% to Republicans and 31% to Democrats. The Chamber of Commerce, which has long been the top-spending lobbying client, endorsed 30 Democratic House candidates in the 2020 election.
In the face of these sweeping changes, the Republican Party increasingly is signaling its aspiration to function as a worker-nationalist party, appealing not only to aggrieved, increasingly economically marginalized white heartland voters but also the growing cultural demographic of Hispanic blue-collar workers.
Yet, one is led to wonder how far such an increasingly marginalized party will get in the future, especially one now so isolated from main sources of cultural power as well as the political power that actually counts in this post-constitutional landscape: adequate levels of support within the federal bureaucratic sector.
Meanwhile, the Democrats, the ascendant party, confident in their increasing cultural clout, will undoubtedly follow through with their plans for a transformation of the federal judiciary. Among other things, this will pave the way for Democratic aspirations for through-going electoral “reform,” ultimately enabling them to erode Republican dominance in the red heartland.
In time, the Democrats will be emboldened to leverage their immense political and cultural clout to undertake a thorough-going cultural transformation to their liking – something that they already feel confident boasting about. Securing statehood for Puerto Rico and D.C., they will virtually assure their control of the Senate for generations.
Small wonder why the Democrats are increasingly behaving like a vanguard party, not all that different from the ones in Soviet-dominated Eastern Europe that functioned as cultural and political monoliths but that also kept tame opposition around for domestic and international consumption.
Millions of Americans are reminded every day of how quickly our national bonds are eroding.
One conspicuous example is how blue cities and states, borrowing a page from proto-Confederate nullifier John C. Calhoun, have established sanctuaries to obstruct federal immigration policy.
Of course, now that red state legislatures, notably South Dakoka’s GOP-controlled House of Representatives, are resortingto the same practice, we can rest assured that the oligarchy’s agit/prop arm will decry such obstruction as a portent of full-scale insurrection.
Granted, it amounts to rank hypocrisy, but the left, once again, is banking on its virtual lock on all the principal political and cultural institutions to drive this dissent out of respectable venues of discussion.
They very well may succeed. In fact, they likely will succeed. The inevitable accusing finger will be pointed at the legislative malefactors, backstopped with cries of “Insurrection!” In some cases, incriminating social posts will be uncovered by the vigilant watchdogs of the oligarchy’s agit/prop apparatus. In the end the majority of these obstreperous men and women, facing political and financial ruin and even the harassment of close family members, will cower and ultimately express contrition.
But then, maybe not. More and more I and undoubtedly many others who closely follow political discourse, or what passes for it these days, are struck by the levels of contempt that ordinary Americans evince for this country’s ruling class.
Maybe we really have reached an impasse, one that may end up bearing more than a passing resemblance to events that gripped and eventually sundered the American Union in 1861.