Last week I wrote of Ron Paul's CPAC straw poll victory. When reading other people's commentary on it, I was struck by a phrase by Reason's Brian Doherty, who excerpted what he had written the year before:
"So there's a very good reason anyone with any skin in the game of the status quo—politician, commentator, or citizen—has to find it very difficult to take Paul seriously. That so many citizens and activists in the Tea Party movement are taking him seriously is scaring the establishment for good reason. Paul doesn't just represent an opposition politician, he represents an absolute denial that "the system" makes any sense, has any justice, or is sustainable. It is this radical oppositionism that makes it so easy for standard issue pundits to just write his fans off as nuts and a bit scary."
The key phrase is, "he represents an absolute denial that 'the system' makes any sense, has any justice, or is sustainable."
Doherty may have hit upon a new divide in politics, which is even more evident this year than last.
There are people, Democrat and Republican alike, who believe "the system" does make sense, and is fundamentally good. They also believe it is sustainable; the only problem is sin. Democrats and Republicans differ only on what the sins happen to be.
For Democrats, the sins are . . .
- Racism, sexism, homophobia, and xenophobia
- Being a Republican
For Republicans, the sins are . . .
- Wanting higher taxes and more regulations
- Defending people who don't fit into the mold of the "traditional family"
- Being a Democrat
Democrats (ignorantly) believe that Republicans support an "unfettered free market" where, they think, businesses a) think it's good business to kill their customers and employees and b) will get away with it. Republicans believe Democrats want to undermine the foundations of Western Civilization and of American society. Democrats say the Republicans want a Police State with the Patriot Act as proof; Republicans say Democrats want a Leviathan State, with Obamacare's "individual mandate" as proof.
And yet, both have a fundamental faith in The System, especially if the "right people" win elections.
Both Democrats and Republicans . . .
- Will seek government jobs like public school teacher and police officer
- Believe in the military as a "global force for good" and will enlist no matter the party of the President
But the economic disaster of the past three years has caused many others to question The System.
They are learning about how the banking system really works, and how the Federal Reserve Board operates in secret. They are questioning bailouts of the fat cats and "stimulus" programs that were nothing but a series of pork-barrel projects.
When they learn that The System relies on money being printed out of thin air, they realize that the System itself "makes no sense."
In addition, a growing number are learning what the Constitution says and doesn't say. They wonder how . . .
- The President can take the country into war without a formal declaration of war by Congress
- Unelected bureaucrats can devise regulations that are imposed on private businesses, without approval by Congress
- The federal government can have any control over our education, our health, or our food
- The federal government can disburse financial aid to foreign nations and to state and local governments
And they wonder about a lot more things the federal government does, that are not authorized by the Constitution. They wonder, since the letter of the Constitution isn't followed, if the Rule of Law exists in the United States.
This growing number, whether they identify with the Tea Party or with libertarians, aren't "selfish" or individualistic. They care about their neighbors and their country as much as anyone. But they are beginning to realize that the system makes no sense, and that the people are being ripped off and oppressed by a self-serving Ruling Class.
What frightens believers in The System is that there is a growing number of people who are willing to smash it. Who are willing to get rid of the Fed. Who are willing to smash the Military-Industrial Complex and bring the troops home. Who are willing to close most federal departments.
I predict that believers in The System will pull out all the stops to attack and smear those of us who no longer have any faith in it.
If you think politics is nasty now, just wait until the movement for smaller government picks up steam.