Isn’t that deeply, deeply frightening? Even if you are fundamentally conservative - especially if you are fundamentally conservative - don’t you recognize the atavism of the appeals being made, and doesn’t it frighten and disgust you? There is certainly no "Principle of Good Order" at work here, or prudent recognition of mortal limits, or even a grateful recognition of the authority of one’s betters. And if you’re a liberal, dedicated to human flowering and the role of government in fostering it, don’t you quail before the gibbering face of vox populism? This is the system by which one will do the greatest good for the greatest number? And more darkly, do these bastards deserve Health Care; good jobs at good wages; "a quality, affordable education"; The Presumption of Innocence? Shouldn’t any system that rewards and results in such proudly precognitive slavering be sanely restricted in its scope and sweep? Shouldn’t we, indeed, try to figure out how to do without it?See, this is why I keep saying that insofar as it represents, at root, a matter of succession, democracies in all their various and sundry forms are no more rational, reasonable, equitable, or just than patrilineal descent or a roll of the dice. Succession in post-Republic Rome, with its kooky mixture of democratic processes, military coups, genealogical imperatives, aristocratic intrigues, and pure, dumb luck might have been the most similar process to the one we got goin', but all throughout the history of states and empires each system in and of itself managed to produce a few wise statesmen amidst a gaggle of pure crazies. The fact that we farm out our selection process to The People is not inherently wise, nor good, nor fair. It ensures only that we can blame our neighbors for the bastards that lead us ever toward ruin, rather than blaming the poor issue of some half-impotent monarch, or the College of Cardinals, or the alignment of stars. Democracy does not, in other words, pick the best rulers. Occasionally, good rulers happen to democracy. And by "good rulers," I only mean: warlords who manage to increase the domestic comfort and protect the plain people from the cruel practices necessary for the maintenance of their comfortable lives.
-Jim Henley on the GOP convention, etc.
I am so tired of listening to people prattle on about America this, America that, as if we represent some social apotheosis heretofore unseen upon this earth. I'm certainly tired of the fierce conviction of every political partisan that he is going to fix America. Take it back. Make it better. Faster. Stronger. Whatever. To the questions: what are we going to do? what are you doing?--I'm proud to report: not a damn thing, and as actively as I can. This is especially true in the realm of national politics. The Democratic Convention, with all its post-Kennedy raptures about worlds safe for democracy and men on the moon and chickens in every pot was bad enough, but I dare you to watch the vicious spectacle in St. Paul, the mewling chorus of creationist morons worshipping like Spielbergian Thuggees at the alter of destruction, and contemplate that they represent a full 50% of your countrymen, who haven't even the decency to require circumspection from their empire of death, and tell me that what this nation--this world--needs is more elections.