Democracy in action

The past week saw a couple of events that were both predictable and widely predicted, at least among right-wing cranks, but they were still blatant enough to be a bit shocking:

  • The signing of the Treaty of Lisbon, a.k.a. Reform Treaty. The treaty reinstates the substantive provisions of the failed European Constitution but in a more disorganized form explicitly intended to give politicians the cover they needed to say it’s not a constitution so no referenda would be needed like those that sunk the Constitution two years ago.
  • Impending changes in provisions relating to the construction of a fence along the border with Mexico that cuts the money available by more than half and would have the effect of making actual construction contingent on completion of consultations with local stakeholders and in any event optional. (It’s impossible to be sure from the story just what the new provisions will be, but we’re told that “370 miles, ‘or other mileage'” is to be completed by the end of next year, and according to a spokesman “we’re ultimately going to rely on the Border Patrol to tell us what type of fencing, technology or other infrastructure they need and where they need it.”) The net effect seems to be that the fence won’t get built if the administration doesn’t feel like building it. Given how recent administrations have treated control of immigration, I wonder how that will turn out?

Our form of government is said to be democracy, and democracy is said to be rule by the people. In fact, the people are being given no voice with regard to their own dissolution as such. Isn’t there something amiss in the official story?

1 thought on “Democracy in action”

  1. Progressivism, the orthodontic nuisance
    Today I read an old copy of a Time Magazine special issue dealing with Teddy Roosevelt. I must say that I did not have enough regard for the way in which TR is responsible for so much progressive doctrine. It got me to thinking about the way progressivism is ingrained and impacted (like a bad molar) in American society. It lodges initially in the procedural aspects of our life, but, of course, comes to affect the deep structures of the culture before too long. Since we are too much of a procedural republic in the first place, the damage is immense.

    What motivated TR? Rationalist frenzy? From reading the articles, I came to the conclusion (to be taken with much salt) that TR was looking both for a way to get to the top of the political heap and for a ladder to get him there that he could pull up when he needed to. Progressivism had at least a lexical relationship with Christianity—and, it had almost become the total field against which the political game was played. His timing was great, but he also sought to make sure that new political rules were initiated that benefited the most powerful players. He was sure that he was the most tenacious and powerful. His ego was immense. I came away really quite loathing the man.

    As far as I can see it, the game is still the same. The conservative moment (of the Reagan sort) was simply a hiccup in what has come to be the American establishment—progressivism simpliciter. To get to your point, JK—in this sort of system, the idea of “democracy,” whatever you think about it, is really a surd.


Leave a Comment