If governments are not guided by original principles, they are little more than toys of faction. Every democratic system has created its party of despots. Disrespect for constitutional order is a political disease of the democratic form of government that progressive interests have vigorously encouraged for one hundred years. Its pathogen, now metastasizing fully within the present administration, will lead inevitably to a loss of faith in democracy itself.
President Obama envisions an America ruled by a network of organized minority and special interests whose combined political force represents an illegitimate control over the democratic political process. But there is nothing democratic in the idea of coercion, whether by majority or minority interests — for either lays a burden of prejudice on elected representatives who may enact laws favorable to one part of society at the expense of other parts.
In a republican system of government, the purpose of our rights is to protect individuals and vulnerable minorities from the tyranny of majorities. But how are majorities protected from combined and well-organized minorities that are keen to exact preferential treatment in law from the Obama administration? And how do Supreme Court decisions that favor these special interests not interfere with due process or the guaranteed rights of all persons?
The 2016 Democratic presidential campaign has erected a platform of false promises directly appealing to a social network of “severely wronged and persecuted” groups; but only now have we discovered all that we should have known: that in a cynical and corrupt activist environment, such as that which now threatens absolutism and the very nature of justice itself, those who stand on principle are soon defeated. Mr. Obama’s presidency and the Democratic supermajorities of the 111th Congress (2009 – 2010) confirmed how vulnerable our system is to hijacking and piracy. That was our first enlightenment. Two years of liberal steerage were quite enough to turn America from her founding purpose, well towards the salvage yards of the world. These policies successfully created the industry of grievance and entitlement necessary to divide and weaken society so that the people were no longer a threat to the new political order.
The assertion of “equality” under the new order sounds the very essence of democracy until one understands that the kind of social equality cultivated for political purposes can be achieved only through compulsion in law. Only among undemocratic regimes, as we now see forming under progressive leadership, can we find the assertion that preferential justice for a few represents a political value greater than that of equal justice for all.
Modern liberal doctrine in many ways distinguishes between the lawful and the fair. As an instance, under President Obama’s conception of redistributive justice, his administration can act fairly only if it acts unlawfully, which is to say that the just distribution of social goods can be achieved only if the laws do not apply uniformly to all persons. Justice, in this regard, since the administration seeks to rectify social imbalances through executive orders and selective enforcement of existing laws, rewards only parts of society while penalizing others — an action that clearly promotes class warfare. There can be no question that Obama regards lawfulness as the lesser part of justice, since he deems the nation’s laws as a repression of minority interests — a strictly progressive conceit that suffices to pardon his several attempts on the Separation of Powers.
The liberal gets with force what he cannot get with law. He cannot prove that what he intends to do shall be justly done. He has separated the principles of justice into a scheme of arbitrary authority and he has made a new dictionary of law. If the laws divide and burden society while benefitting those who govern society, then the laws are deviant. We find then, in progressive scripture, not an understanding of justice, but rather the conceit that injustice is stronger than justice. It is an elaborate invention of an ideology that regards justice as the rule of the stronger political faction, which can act unjustly only if it returns some measure of that rule to the common people.
“Progressivism” is merely a new name for a very old crisis of civilization — it is the means by which the beneficial products of human intelligence fall into disorder. The emergent ideology represents the destruction of value. It is an acid that dissolves foundations, customs, laws, civility, knowledge — history itself — anything that falls into its language. Its power is that of negation, working its will through opposition to established social and political institutions — destroying, like an Ebola virus, the capillaries of trust that supply them. Its corruption extends throughout the culture, bringing State interference, dysfunction and regulatory force to the sanctuaries of the private sector, of markets and self-regulating commerce, of respect for property and religious freedom. It creates a deviant system, a pathology — a condition of stasis that resolves fundamentally into a conflict over power.
Force moves the argument. If despotism is the best hope for America that the progressive faction can deliver, then its activists have defined the best by the worst. We have discovered in the folly of the left’s pursuit of power the first cause of political stasis: a radical scheme of divided justice from which there can be no rest from civil strife — a system in which truth opposes truth. Here, then, is our second enlightenment: if we are forced in our election to choose between our democratic longings for the principle of “equality” and its correlative principle of “freedom from government coercion” — due to the ideological separation of political parties — then we are at last a defeated people. The fate of American government will devolve into outrageous sways of parliamentary authority in which succeeding administrations, driven by well-established tribal hatreds and the urgency of revenge, expend their energies and political capital in taking down the accomplishments of their predecessors; and we are left in the end only with a politics of rubble.
Uncompromising differences among political ideologies are the causes of stasis, never of reconciliation. A resolution of these differences should emerge from social consensus, never through the coercive powers invested in the ruling faction. All things that plead for seeding and tending and gathering in our enterprise require us to rid ourselves of government interference. A free society disturbed by the operations of government cannot remain free. Only the people, through their power of election, keep the nation in trust. But if we cannot cancel the left’s attempts on our Constitution now, or if we are unable or unwilling to turn the nation’s distracted culture from its regenerative narcissism and folly, then we shall answer to the children who come after us, to the generations who must bear the burden of our negligence — in whose books we shall be remembered, and in whose curses we shall most certainly deserve the fate that waits on all fools.
Philip Ahlrich can be reached for comment at email@example.com
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