Though for the time being we still maintain the institutional semblance of constitutional self-government, the United States no longer has a political process consistent with its survival. This isn’t a matter of structural features (two-party vs. multiparty, proportional vs. winner-take-all representation, regional vs. group representation and so forth.) Rather it has to do with what we understand to be the purpose of politics; the nature of citizenship in light of that purpose; and the means and methods most likely to produce actions consonant with good citizenship.
As things stand today, the only purpose of politics is to get elected. In order to get elected, you must get more votes than your opponents. The most efficient way to achieve this result is to find out what people want to see and hear, then fabricate and project an image that corresponds to their desire. The electoral process has become an information exchange between self-centered hedonists and self-promoting liars: people willing to expose their selfish desires choose from a menu of fictional satisfactions offered by candidates pursuing their own selfish ambitions. On Election Day the electorate selects the candidate whose fabricated image most effectively seduced their self-serving judgment.
Prior to Election Day the focus of the political process is on the candidates. The term politics is therefore used to refer mainly to the activities undertaken by and on behalf of those competing for political office. Besides the candidates themselves, the people involved in politics, are the pollsters and analysts of opinion who figure out what the people want to see and hear; the media consultants whose work is to produce and project an image of the candidate that corresponds to their preferences; and the money people who gather from every possible source the funds needed to pay and equip the rest. But there are obviously two other groups of people who actively participate in the process: those who control access to the media, and those who control access to the money. They have become the only electorate that really matters, the praetorian guard, as it were, whose choice ultimately determines which candidates shall be lifted up for the adulation or opprobrium of the selfish rabble. I say they are the only electorate because the people who determine the choices actually determine the choice. This paradigm of politics therefore effectively abandons the idea of government of by and for the people. Instead we have government over the people, manipulated by the media, who are owned by money powers that therefore control both the process and its results.
For our present purposes two things are especially noteworthy in this political paradigm. The first is the essentially passive, and ultimately superfluous, role of the people as a whole; the second is the concentration of political activity in the hands of a relatively small group of elite participants who in effect become the only real citizens. This paradigm represents the end of the democratic era in human affairs, and a return to the oligarchic rule (using those words to refer to government by the few, but with the usual implication of power in the hands of the wealthy) characteristic of societies before the institution of the American republic. As long as this oligarchic paradigm predominates, the American experiment is suspended. Once the paradigm has been consolidated, it will be over and done.
If this analysis of our present political process is accurate it means that as far as truly representative government is concerned American politics has become an imaginary exercise. Candidates for office have essentially been degraded into mere images. The final choice made by the people is also imaginary, since they select from alternatives predetermined by an exclusively elite process in which they play no active role. The aim of the imaginary process is to determine which representatives of the elite powers project an image more likely to mollify people, and make them less resistant to the will of those who in fact now exercise sovereign control. Though imaginary in its outward form and content, the process therefore aims at a very real advantage. It is less expensive (both in material and emotional terms) to control a people induced to vent its frustrations and ambitions in what amounts to a virtual reality. Such virtual politics adds the finishing touch to the welter of preoccupations and distractions offered by technological toys and sexual hedonism (keeping in mind, of course, that much of that is also virtually enacted, through internet pornography, and such vicarious satisfactions as following the antics of “stars” in the entertainment and information media.)
At the moment, this imaginary political process appears to serve the goal of establishing a system of global governance that will ultimately eliminate the need for the charade of representative institutions (or at least make it entirely optional.) From the oligarchic point of view, the advantage of such a global system lies in the concentration of sufficient power in the hands of a global elite to deter, co-opt or suppress opposition. This requires that a background network of globally minded elites becomes, in effect, the last remaining superpower, with no lesser power capable of standing alone against it. The American union has the wherewithal to be a lasting superpower, but on a national basis incompatible with the globalist principle of the New World Order. Therefore, the continued existence of the United States is an obstacle which must be removed by reducing the power and destroying the unity of the nation.
Whatever his rhetoric, the policies being pursued by Barack Obama are intended to achieve this deflation of the relative power and cohesion of the United States.
His critics have been quick to see the destructive implications of his agenda, especially in the economic realm. But few if any have seen, or at any rate been willing to articulate, the purposeful intention behind it. The two party system effectually dampens any inclination toward such candor, since it represents an imaginary (or virtual) opposition of elements with no more real difference between them than two heads on the same body, or two eyes in the same head. However different they look, they move together and in the same direction. Though Democrats pretend to care deeply about the welfare of the people, Democrat policies increase the power of controlling elites with little net benefit for the people at large. Though Republicans pretend to care deeply about the liberty and opportunity available to individuals, their policies tend to increase the freedom of controlling elites, with little net benefit for individual liberty on the whole. The telltale sign of the agenda common to both parties is their actual indifference or hostility to the effects of programs and policies on the characteristics that are the essential bases of the people’s ability to think and act for themselves: self-discipline, self-sufficiency and self-government.
Self-discipline clearly depends on the formation and encouragement of certain moral characteristics. Self-sufficiency requires economic approaches that preserve and enhance opportunities for individual income and wealth creation. Self-government demands political processes that depend on, and respond to individual initiative in the development and mobilization of representative political networks. Clearly these three components of self-government are interdependent. Unless they control material resources that exceed the bare necessities of life, individuals are unlikely to show much political enterprise. Without a sense of their own worth, and the significance of their own abilities and actions, people are unlikely to see or take advantage of economic opportunity. Even when they do, without a sense of responsibility for the management of their impulses and passions, they are unlikely to focus on and sustain effective action long enough to produce results. Finally, without the self-confidence and courage that arises from the sense of personal responsibility, individuals become the passive subjects of the actions and intentions of others, incapable of the initiatives required 0f true citizens.
In their different ways, both the Democrat and Republican parties advance policies that promote mentalities and ways of life that directly attack or persistently erode one or another of these components of republican citizenship. The Democrats consistently champion undisciplined sexual lust. The Republicans routinely cater to the lust for money and material goods. Both alike agree to serve as masks for the unbridled lust for power. In the more general sense of the term, therefore, lust is the whole purpose of the political system they comprise. It represents the implementation of an Hobbesian vision of human nature as an endless effort to satisfy unquenchable desire, a tyranny of domineering passions, in which the appearance of choice simply registers the prevalent passion of the moment. But Thomas Hobbes reasoned logically to the conclusion that absolute despotism is the political system that corresponds to this vision. He would not be at all surprised to see that both major Parties to the politics of lust tacitly agree on a path that leads humanity under the yoke of global tyranny.
The American republic was not founded upon a simply Hobbesian concept of human nature. The American founders acted on an understanding (profoundly influenced by Christian and Biblical precepts) that saw natural right, rather than passion, as the ruler or measuring rod of choice. This different conception of nature leads to a different conception of choice. Rather than arising from the welter of competing passions, it reflects the possibility of deliberation, the process whereby one consciously chooses which passions shall be constrained, and to what degree. But such deliberation assumes a standpoint not subject to passionate forces, an eye in the storm of passion, free in some sense from its prevailing winds because it represents the point of origin from which passion itself derives substance, force and meaning. In the understanding articulated in the American Declaration of Independence, this is the standpoint of the Creator. The concept of right arising from the authority of the Creator assumes that this original position represents more than the sheer force of real existence. It represents an intention, an inwardly formed purpose that foresees, and at every moment constitutes, the destination of existing things. The assertion of right represents the presence of this intention in action, along with just the force needed to carry it out. From this juxtaposition of intention and forcefulness arises a concept of justice that supplies the reason for constraining and ordering the passions, a reason that looks beyond the prevalent disposition of passion itself.
It may accurately be said that the people most responsible for the American founding were obsessed with justice. They saw it as the overriding purpose of political life, to which the freeways of passion would ultimately be forced to submit. But if, by deliberation, people recognize and submit to its requirements, their freedom of choice becomes the basis for government, rather than forced submission. The extent and degree of their self-determination with respect to the requirements of justice establishes the extent of individual freedom in their society. In this respect, the more good individuals are willing to do of their own volition, the less the force of government will be called upon to do for them. Conversely, the less justice they reflect in their individual choices, the more the force of government will be called upon to dictate and impose upon their actions. Freedom depends on individual responsibility.
The politics of lust (using the term in its general sense, as we have in this essay) represents the complete abandonment of this responsibility. Because we have accepted it, our freedom is being overthrown. If we wish to save and restore our freedom, we must become, like America’s founders, partisans of justice; people willing to answer in word and deed for the right use of freedom in our own lives and the life of our nation. But we cannot restore the concern for right if we abandon the standpoint from which the concept of right arises: the standpoint of the Creator and of respect for the authority implied by His intention for our lives. This is the true fault line along which shall be determined the fate of American liberty. On one side move the forces that reject the premise of the Creator’s will. On the other those firmly committed to its defense. And in between, so many who shift to and fro between the false promises of unbridled passion and the common sense of justice that inclines them toward the path of responsibility and true liberty. Though the partisans of justice cannot pander to the falsehoods, we can do our best to make clear the solid happiness that can only be achieved through liberty. This is the practical challenge that our derelict elites have brushed aside, but which those who are loyal to liberty must be ready to address. To see their work in progress, visit AIPnews.com. Then look for my further description of the real change they are working for in the next installment of this series, Real Change- Restoring the Politics of Justice.
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