Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Consent of the governed? Get serious

Liberalism once meant, according to its apostles, supporting the interests of ordinary people against the rich and powerful. The past is another country, right enough. Dennis Dale at Untethered notes how liberal commentators, for example Jacob Weisberg, nowadays are nervous that mere — sniff — voters might be over-influential with newbie Congresspersons.
Weisberg seems to be lamenting that America is electing the wrong people. We're, apparently, no more trustworthy with the keys to democracy than the Third World primitives that Weisberg wants to throw the border gates open for. (This phrase, electing the wrong people, was used by a member of the Coalition Provisional Authority when explaining the delay of Iraq's promised elections.)

Weisberg's not sure we can be trusted with democracy. We might use it to interfere with market forces.
Weisberg is against "economic nationalism," with its hateful connotations of Americans having a greater say in how the United States is run, and who for, than Mexicans or Indonesians or French. But Weisberg favors "economic populism" because, as Dale puts it, "unlike its evil twin above, it knows its place, limiting itself to minimum wage laws, confiscatory taxes and stumping for social programs, while accepting whatever may come of unbridled immigration and outsourcing."

Weisberg worries that "most of those who reclaimed Republican seats ran hard against free trade, globalization, and any sort of moderate immigration policy. That these Democrats won makes it likely that others will take up their reactionary call. Some of the newcomers may even be foolish enough to try to govern on the basis of their misguided theory."

Dale comments, aptly:
'Moderate' of course means not having the coarse manners to take enforcement seriously. Is this fair, when 'enforcement first' is nothing more than an attempt to enforce existing law? At what point did we make the deliberate decision that our immigration laws were no longer needed and our border a mere inconvenience?

The federal government has silently and without the assent of a distracted public gotten away with abnegating its responsibilites over the last twenty years (since '86's amnesty law and its ignored enforcement provisions). This is a curious interpretation of the consent of the governed in a republic.
There's a reason why Third World countries get that way, and stay that way. It's not something in the water or the way the planets are lined up. You may run into the odd psychiatric case study such as a U.S. president with delusions of being, not Napoleon, just Maximilian, Napoleon III's Mexican Emperor. But the transformation of our country into an overpopulated, debt-ridden, elite-run society is perfectly rational if you're among the Chosen Ones.

Which would you rather be? (a) Someone in a closely knit circle of acquaintances — people of this sort don't have friends, exactly — who get what they want without the tedious business of working too hard, persuading lots of people, and following inconvenient and possibly even wealth-constricting laws? (b) An ordinary citizen, tied down by all kinds of restrictions for the common good, forced to try to get laws passed thorugh political give-and-take without always succeeding, not especially looked up to or given special treatment?

If you answer (b), then I commend you on your virtue. But don't be too sure what you would choose if (a) was actually in your power, if you had but to part your lips, speak your wish and watch it carried out by the state and its running dogs in the media. So much simpler. Saves a lot of bother all around. Gives you more time to be gracious and swan about with your peers who have razor-sharp creases pressed into their jeans.

Whether they fly the flag of multi-culturalist social engineers or economic libertarians, many among today's media, academic, and corporate elite choose Door no. 1 above. They're impatient with mossbacked reactionaries stuck in values like historic and cultural traditions, national borders, laws enacted from the broad base of people rather than from the top down. They don't care if the country works or not — hell, they don't have to actually live in it, except in protected enclaves where they can look down on the proles — as long as it works for them. What makes it work for them is importing a huge reservoir of poor, ignorant plantation hands that can be manipulated to overbalance any residual influence from the dwindling middle class.

A secondary value of dredging the world for dollar-a-day migrants to add to the U.S. population is that they help buy off the government parasite class of social workers, report writers, legislation drafters, etc. A huge new group of the "underserved" to be inducted into the welfare industry! Bigger "human services" departments, more projects, more regulations to administer! The best Chris — oops, "holidays" present ever.

This isn't some dystopian fantasy of the future; it's the explanation of the otherwise inexplicable, taking shape all around us now.

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