Finding the Flaws
|The former tennis player Ilie
Nastase once had his wallet stolen, with all his credit cards in it. A
friend was shocked to learn that he hadnt reported the theft. Why
not? So far, Mr. Nastase replied, the thief is spending
less than my wife.
Thats what I call keeping your eye on the ball. And when I hear that the government of China was trying to influence the policy of the Clinton administration, I reserve judgment until I know what it was trying to persuade Mr. Clinton to do. For all I know, its influence might have been for the better.
My point isnt completely facetious. Governments try to influence each other all the time. Our government hasnt been shy about nudging Israeli, Russian, and other elections toward what it considered the right outcomes. Why should we affect Claude Rains indignation (Shocked! Shocked!) at learning that other governments do likewise?
I dont mean that we should approve of it, only that we shouldnt pretend its a deviation from the laws of nature. Its the most natural thing in the world, like air finding the puncture in a tire, or water finding the leak in a boats hull.
Governments are made to be bribed. The bigger they get, the more surely they will become corrupt. Power has a market value, and concentrating power increases the pressure, usually through the medium of money, on any leak. Nature finds the human flaws in any system.
The flaw in democracy is that people learn to vote themselves benefits at other peoples expense. And those benefits may become politically untouchable, as we know too well.
The worst twist in American democracy is that the voters have learned to pass the stupendous costs of the welfare state on to the next generation. Its bad enough when some voters force other voters to support them. But the American voter has learned to force nonvoters to bear his expenses, by deferring payment to the next generation.
The next time you pass a playground, look at all those little nonvoters, oblivious of what awaits them, and ask yourself if its really honest to teach them that they will someday enjoy self-government. In what sense are they governing themselves, if, before they even enter the voting booth for the first time, they are already saddled with huge debts they had no part in incurring and will have no way of escaping? Is that what our ancestors meant by self-government or is it more akin to what they called involuntary servitude?
Wasnt the Constitution supposed to forbid such overweening power of one part of the community over another? No doubt. But as usual, nature has found the flaw in the system. The federal government has used a few clauses in the Constitution notably the Commerce Clause and a few phrases in the Fourteenth Amendment to virtually nullify the rest of the Constitution, turning a limited confederation of sovereign states into an all- powerful centralized government, always at the service of the greedy.
According to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Constitution has evolved to mean just about the opposite of what everyone used to understand it to mean. In fact, modern jurisprudence has rendered most of the Constitutions text superfluous, nugatory, or hopelessly confusing. Why should it list two dozen powers of Congress, when Congress exercises thousands of unlisted powers?
We might as well throw the old text out and adopt a simplified version that corresponds to reality: The federal government shall be the 800-pound gorilla. This would be easier for children to learn, and would spare them the need to understand archaic words like delegated, enumerated, and usurped. It would also eliminate the necessity for the judiciary to engage in the ceremonial pretense of reasoning its way to the preordained bottom line.
And think how much easier life would be for our civics teachers! They could simply explain to the young, The whole business of politics is to try to get the gorilla to take your banana so hell go sit on somebody else. Only a few curious pupils would care to know how this Darwinian gorilla evolved.
|Copyright © 2006 by the
Griffin Internet Syndicate,
a division of Griffin Communications
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