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On the Day after Memorial Day …

… Celebrate Plutocracy Now!

Fabius Maximus website (May 31 2016)

Summary: The enemies of America’s democracy have stepped into the light. Yesterday we remembered the sacrifice of those who fell defending America. Today let’s see how we betray them through our apathy and disinterest in working the political machinery of the Republic, putting it at risk. Here are harsh facts essential for us to see. Our complacency is their advantage.

Powerful elements of society seek power just as water runs downhill. They find courtiers who devise justifications for their patron’s rule. It’s a fact of history, although the nature of power changes over time – by ancestry, religious office, ownership of land or animals, or by money.

America’s plutocrats have regained the supremacy they held during the Gilded Age, before the reforms of the progressive age and New Deal. Now they lay the foundation to gain even more power. One node of the plutocrat’s power is Silicon Valley, where the One Percent’s dreams of power flower undisturbed – as described in this detailed and frightening essay by Corey Pein in the Baffler: “Mouthbreathing Machiavellis Dream of a Silicon Reich” {1}. He examines the roots of Silicon Valley’s magnates’ belief in their unique fitness to rule America.

 

 

It is clear that [Peter] Thiel sees corporations as the governments of the future and capitalists such as himself as the kings, and it is also clear that this is a shockingly common view in Thiel’s cohort.

 

 

For more about the “Dark Enlightenment” {2} see the articles by Curtis Yarvin (writing as Mencius Moldbug) and Nick Land – collected at this website {3}. As successful reactionary movements so, it has gained allies from conservatives. Such as Andrew Sullivan, providing a philosophical gloss to the One Percent’s lust for power: “Democracies end when they are too democratic” {4} in New York magazine – “And right now, America is a breeding ground for tyranny”:

 

 

It seems shocking to argue that we need elites in this democratic age – especially with vast inequalities of wealth and elite failures all around us. But we need them precisely to protect this precious democracy from its own destabilizing excesses.

 

 

Lawyers Speaking for the Plutocracy

In America even plutocrats need a legal justification for their tyranny. Eric Posner (Professor of Law, University of Chicago) and Adrian Vermeule (Professor of Law, Harvard) have obliged, with a book explaining that the Republic has died, and they are okay with that: Executive Unbound: After the Madisonian Republic {5}. You can download the first chapter at Amazon. Summary: it’s necessary, it’s inevitable, it’s necessary, it’s inevitable. Excerpt:

 

 

The book argues that the Madisonian system of separation of powers has eroded beyond recognition and been replaced with a system of executive primacy (which others have called the “imperial presidency”) in which Congress and the courts play only a marginal role.

Most scholars who have recognized this development have called for a return to the Madisonian system, but we believe that the rise of the executive has resulted from a recognition among political elites that only a powerful executive can address the economic and security challenges of modern times. {6}

 

 

The Republic is Weak Because We’ve Lost Confidence in Ourselves

The fall of a political regime is almost always preceded by its key supporters losing confidence. For the regime built on the Constitution, that is us. Too apathetic to work its machinery, we complain about the results.

Gallup’s long-term data on Confidence in Institutions, going back to 1973, looks even bleaker {7}. Our confidence in the Republic’s institutions and our elected officials have been falling for generations – except for police (the second most trusted) and the military (the most trusted). For details see Gallup warns us to prepare for fascism! {8} Only eleven percent percent of the public approved of Congress’s performance in Gallup’s 2016 poll {9}.

Here Comes the Worse News

A YouGov poll on September 2~3 confirms these findings, providing ugly details suggesting that we’re ready for our new rulers – and how they might come to power.

The YouGov poll shows that 29% of Americans can imagine a situation in which they would support the military seizing control of the federal government. Potential support for a coup is strongest among males, among whites, and among Republicans.

A large minority are okay with the military putting their judgment over that of their civilian superiors – if the orders are “misguided”. A smaller minority believe the military should obey orders of their military superiors, even if they believe them unconstitutional. These are innocuous, unless seen along with the previous questions.

 

 

Should active duty members of the US military always follow orders from their civilian superiors, even if they feel that those orders are misguided?

28% Yes
38% No
35% Not sure

 

 

Should active duty members of the US military always follow orders from their military superiors, even if they feel that those orders are unconstitutional?”

27% Yes
39% No
33% Not sure

 

 

What Comes Next?

The Founders built America using lessons learned from the Roman Republic. So perhaps America’s fall will mirror it as well. The Roman people grew weary of self-government, of carrying its burden of responsibility and self-discipline. Conflict followed to determine who would place the bridle on Rome’s people. Christian Meier’s Caesar: A Biography (1997) tells this story.

Yesterday we celebrated the sacrifice of those who fell in defense of America. Today’s let’s feel shame at our weakness, allowing the Republic to decay to the point where we must choose between candidates such Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump – while the One Percent harvests the fruits of America’s productivity and slowly shapes us into suitable peons for their New America.

Every tyranny has its base of public support from people unwilling to govern themselves.

For More Information:

http://www.pewglobal.org/2015/11/18/1-support-for-democratic-principles/

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about Campaign 2016, reforming America: steps to new politics, and especially these:

* https://fabiusmaximus.com/2014/06/21/gallup-confidence-in-institutions-america-69308/

* https://fabiusmaximus.com/2015/03/18/republican-party-revolutionary-france-one-percent-80996/

* https://fabiusmaximus.com/2015/09/15/yougov-poll-warns-of-fascism-89438/

* https://fabiusmaximus.com/2016/04/25/andrew-ohehir-our-broken-politics-95995/

* https://fabiusmaximus.com/2016/04/26/crisis-in-brazil-perhaps-america-95814/

Links:

{1} http://thebaffler.com/blog/mouthbreathing-machiavellis

{2} https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_Enlightenment

{3} http://www.thedarkenlightenment.com/

{4} http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/04/america-tyranny-donald-trump.html

{5} http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0199765332/thevolocons0d-20/

{6} http://volokh.com/2011/03/21/eric-posner-guest-blogging-about-executive-unbound-after-the-madisonian-republic/

{7} http://www.gallup.com/poll/1597/confidence-institutions.aspx

{8} https://fabiusmaximus.com/2014/06/21/gallup-confidence-in-institutions-america-69308/

{9} http://www.gallup.com/poll/186581/congress-job-approval-rating-slips.aspx

https://fabiusmaximus.com/2016/05/31/important-facts-for-day-after-memorial-day-97179/

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