This is not the usual Bookworm Beat, because I don’t have a lot of links. Instead, I wanted to offer a few observations that have been floating around in my brain for a while.
The Founders would have approved of Brexit. The transnational elite is horrified that, in England, the ordinary people have spoken and, what they’ve said is, “No transnational elite for us. We want to control our own destinies.” How dare the little people say that? They don’t know what’s good for them!
Heck, even the Founders didn’t approve of pure democracy. When they drafted the Constitution, not only did they make America a representative democracy, they also created voting layers for the federal government. Until the 17th Amendment, Americans couldn’t vote directly for their Senators. Instead, the state legislature appointed Senators. The electoral college represents the last vestige of the Founders’ efforts to keep the madness of mobs away from the most important levers of power.
With that history in mind, you’d think that I, being a fervent constitutionalist, would agree with the transnational elite that it’s a disaster that Britain allowed the “mob” to speak and appears to be abiding by the mob’s wishes. I don’t, though. The transnational elite are confusing process with the fundamental right to govern.
Most of us remember just the first sentence in the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” However, what follows is possibly even more important:
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
I don’t think I need add much more to the theory Jefferson enunciated. Thomas Jefferson, with help from fellow Founders, has perfect described the fact that the people must first consent to being governed before a government is legitimate.
In the case of England, Gordon Brown simply said “Hey, hey! Wait for me! I want to get on board the EU train — and Great Britain is coming with me whether the people agree or not.” Meanwhile, on the continent, the EU asked the people in the member states to ratify a constitution.
The EU constitution wasn’t, of course, a constitution as we understand it, which sets out in fairly simple terms how a government meant to serve the people and stand strong against tyranny, should be structured. Nor was it a statement establishing the inviolability of people’s rights against a government. It was an endlessly long regulatory, bureaucratic monstrosity. In France and Holland, the people didn’t like what they saw, so they refused to ratify the “constitution.” The EU elite then simply imposed it from above via the Treat of Lisbon.
Thus, people of England never even got a chance to consent to the government imposed against them, and the people of Europe tried to resist and were ignored.
Of course, even when people don’t consent, if things are going well, they’ll stick around. Lately, however, things haven’t been going well. Long before the refugees came along, the EU’s growth was stagnant (typical for micromanaged economies) and the British were bearing the brunt of Europeans from the EU’s eastern provinces who wanted to take advantage of the sizable welfare benefits the British were required to bestow upon them. The refugee crisis wasn’t the reason the British wanted out (the movement for Brexit started years before), but it may well have been the straw that broke the British back.
What we witnessed with Brexit was precisely the type of “power to the people” that the Founders recognized as a foundation for good government — i.e., consent of the governed.
Marx was wrong again. The essence of Marxism can be summed up in the phrase “Workers of the world unite!” What Marx envisioned as he looked out at the industrial revolution in those countries run along fairly capitalist lines was that industrial workers would put aside their national differences and come together in a global block to seize power from capitalists, those with inherited wealth, and those manipulating the reins of government.
In 1914, Marx’s theory was first put to the test, and it promptly failed: When the power brokers across Europe went to war, the workers of the world did not unite and refuse to fight against each other. Instead, with nationalistic fury, they fought each other to a terrible, deadly stalemate, broken only when America entered the war on England’s side. It turns out that British workers aren’t that fond of German workers, who don’t really like the French workers that much. Having nothing but work in common turns out not to be a bonding experience.
In 1917, Marx’s theory again proved to be wrong. According to Marx, the inexorable march of history (and the Leftists do love their marches of history) was that agrarian societies become industrialized; industrialized societies inevitably became societies in which the capitalists exploit the workers; and the disaffected, abused workers then throw off their chains, destroying the capitalists and creating socialist paradises. But despite the loss, upheaval, and poverty of war, it wasn’t any of the industrialized countries that went the socialist route. Instead, it was medieval, agrarian Russia that embraced socialism, using it to throw off monarchical and aristocratic power. Then, having done things bass ackwards according to the Marxist “historic inevitability” sequence, Stalin rushed to industrialize the country, at the cost of millions of lives.
That pattern, incidentally, held true for the rest of communisms’ 20th century history. Industrial countries, which saw a rise in the standard of living, resisted hardcore communism. Instead, hardcore communism swept economically lagging agrarian countries, from China to North Korea to Cuba to a variety of failed African and South American states.
And in our time — in the time of the EU and Obama — Marx’s theory has failed yet again. Marx envisioned that transnationalism would see workers of the world unite against capitalists, those with inherited wealth, and the political class. Instead, what we’ve seen is a transnationalism that has the worldwide class of capitalists, those who inherited wealth, and political operatives unite against the workers of the world. You could therefore call the Brexit and Trump phenomenon “anti-Marxism.”
Considering that Marx was wrong about everything — that his predictions failed and that his theories, when put into practice, failed too — it is a terrible thing that, thanks to the complete corruption of American academics, America’s young people think that Marx is the answer.
Neil deGrasse Tyson opens a door to evil. I pretty much ignore Neil deGrasse Tyson. He may know physics, which speaks well of his intelligence, but he’s an arrogant, elitist who knows nothing else, and isn’t ashamed to push his ignorance. His latest foray into stupidity was a tweet saying the world must be governed by “evidence” (aka scientific principles):
Earth needs a virtual country: #Rationalia, with a one-line Constitution: All policy shall be based on the weight of evidence
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) June 29, 2016
For those who can’t get embedded tweets to load, what he said was “Earth needs a virtual country: #Rationalia, with a one-line Constitution: All policy shall be based on the weight of evidence.”
Kevin Williamson does a wonderful takedown addressing the fact that, while we can know a few big things about how our universe functions, the uncountable numbers of unpredictable factors that affect everything make science, or even rationality, a poor predictor of outcomes — which, says Williamson, is why it’s better to have free markets react in real time to unpredictable events than to have cumbersome governments lay down diktats that cannot react at all. The fact that the same people who like to show their smartness by referencing the Butterfly Effect think that they can predict everything is ludicrous.
Tyson is also assuming honest or accurate science. That’s an especially ridiculous assumption today when every time one opens the internet, one gets another news story about facts as to which scientists were wrong, wrong, wrong. I won’t even touch upon climate change. Let me just point out that every major scientific food shibboleth that destroyed American eating pleasure for two generations, and made a lot of Americans very fat, was wrong. They said magarine is better than butter. The said eggs will kill you. They said fats are bad. They said a high carbohydrate, low fat diet is the healthy one. They said statins help. Everything they arrogantly thought they knew and foisted on a credulous public was grossly erroneous.
Running out of time here, so one more quick point: If science is God, people will dress up all the worst theories as science. Think of the Nazi’s eugenics ideas (which started in America amongst Progressives) or the Soviet’s Lysenkoism. And then, if you feel so inclined, add climate change and remember that climate change’s most fervent advocate, Michael Mann, has said that science is no longer even necessary (probably because old-fashioned science, tied to theories, proof, and replication, has failed to show catastrophic anthropogenic climate change).
UPDATE: And, with perfect timing, shortly after I posted the above, I get an email making me aware of a Jonah Goldberg video explaining how foolish Leftists are when it comes to their belief that they’re rational creatures above ideology.