My son, who is taking a general science class, explained to me why I’m aging. ”Mom,” he said. ”Your cells keep reproducing over and over again, but they’re like a bad photocopy of the original. You see, the original was good, but if you make a photocopy of that, the photocopy isn’t quite as good. And if you photocopy the photocopy, the new photocopy is going to be even less good. [I hope all of you are with me here.] So, by the time you’re old, all your cells have been copied too often, so they’re really bad quality, and that’s why you go gray and get wrinkles.”
I have to say, that strikes me as a damn fine articulation of the problem the mirror reveals to me every day. It’s still me, but the copy quality is increasingly abysmal as the years go by.
The failed copy problem plagues things other than cells. Monarchies, for example, often have the failed copy problem. In century after century and nation after nation, one sees a tolerably decent monarch (at least decent enough to acquire and hang onto the throne) succeeded by increasingly inept heirs who often lost both throne and life (e.g., Louis XIV, Louis V, and Louis XVI; or Russia’s Nicholas’s).
England, the country about which I’m most knowledgeable, had a couple of miserable dynasties. James I, who inherited from Elizabeth I, was a personally revolting man (he never bathed), but a fairly astute politician. His son, Charles I, was such an arrogant pipsqueak, he sparked a civil war that saw him lose, first, his throne and, second, his head. Charles II was an understandably cynical man who did whatever was necessary to hold onto both throne and head so that he could die in his own bed. His brother, James II, didn’t even have that kind of sense, and managed to lose the throne a second time, which is really unforgivable for a single dynasty.
That was the 17th century in England. The 18th century brought its own miserable collection of dynastic disasters, all named George, the first who was stolid and completely Germanic George I; the second who was a nonentity, the third who was a pathetic madman who lost America, and finally the fourth, who was a much-loathed, reprehensible rake. And don’t get me started about Elizabeth II (dignified, if nothing else) and her son, Charles, an unprincipled fruit loop who is known to worship at the global warming altar and who may well be a Muslim convert.
America’s political dynasties have the same problem. Take the Kennedys, for example. The political dynasty started with John, who was all shiny and pretty and polished. It then devolved to Teddy Kennedy, a man even his most devoted fans couldn’t deny was alcoholic, had the obesity of the dissolute, and was generally morally corrupt. The current generation of Kennedy’s has all of Teddy’s vices without his old-generation cachet. They’re drug addicts, alcoholics, depressives, and otherwise troubled, defective people.
The Bush’s aren’t much better. We started with George Sr., a very good and brave and accomplished man who was, nevertheless, a merely decent politician and then worked our way to George Jr., a very good and principled man who really tried to break conservativism’s back with that “compassionate” stuff (which just turned it into mushy Leftism).
The true devolution is appearing in Jeb Bush, the third iteration in that political clan. He’s proving to be such a blurry, failed copy that we may as well head this photocopy directly to the recycling bin. How else to explain his no-borders support for illegal immigration on the ground that it’s an “act of love,” because it’s about family, and not really a crime at all? Funnily enough, I never hear “love” advanced as a defense for the guy who forgoes a job in favor of robbery as a means of putting food on the table.
Paul Mirengoff correctly notes that some illegal aliens, unlike most other criminals, do contribute to society. That, however, is not an argument for excusing blatant law-breaking on “love” grounds. The only real “love” we’re seeing here is Jeb’s love for power, as he hopes to become the third Bush in office.
My Leftist friends are shrieking in horror at the thought of another Bush in office. I have to agree with them. Now if only I can convince them that Hillary Clinton, too, is nothing but a pathetic, failed photocopy of their beloved Bill.