The Republic Has Fallen
A republic is simply a public government, as opposed to other governments, like monarchies, that are private. The US government is no longer a republic.
Cato the Elder, a Roman Senator, ended all of his speeches by declaring, “Furthermore, I consider that Carthage must be destroyed,” commonly abbreviated to Cathargo delenda est.
Hold onto that for a moment while I write about something else.
The definitions of forms of government come to us most notably from Montesquieu, an 18th-century French judge, historian, and philosopher. What follows is his succinct description of forms:
“There are three kinds of governments: the republican, the monarchical and the despotic. Under a republic the people, or a part of the people, has the sovereign power. Under a monarchy one man alone rules, but by fixed and established laws. Under a despotism a single man, without law or regulation, impels everything according to his will…
When in a republic, the whole people possesses sovereign power, it is a democracy. When this power is in the hands of only a part of the people, it is an aristocracy. In a democracy the people, in certain respects, are the monarch; in others, they are the subject. It cannot reign except by its votes, and the laws which establish the right of voting are therefore fundamental in this form of government.
A people possessing sovereign power ought to do itself everything that it can do well; what it cannot do well it must leave to its ministers. Its ministers, however, are not its own unless it nominates them; it is therefore a fundamental principle of this government that the people should nominate their ministers…
There are two excesses which a democracy must avoid: the spirit of inequality, which leads to an aristocracy or a government by one man; and the spirit of excessive equality, which ends in despotism.”
We can debate which side of that fence America has fallen into, aristocracy or despotism. I would lean towards despotism, but it’s not a hill I’d die on. In the end, it doesn’t really matter.
What is not debatable is whether we have kept the republic. We have not. And the most obvious evidence the republic is dead is found in the second sentence of the second paragraph above:
Its ministers, however, are not its own unless it nominates them; it is therefore a fundamental principle of this government that the people should nominate their ministers…
Friends, we do not nominate our ministers, and we have not for quite some time. We did not nominate Fauci or Birx or Klaus Schwab or Bill Gates, yet each of them holds more sway over the daily running of our lives than you or I exercise over ourselves. Anthony Fauci killed a million Americans through experimental medical malpractice, and was rewarded, not rebuked. And there is not a damn thing you or I can do it about it.
And Anthony Fauci is but one of the millions of ministers who decide how you live. Ministers who serve at the leisure of, not the president, but the permanent bureaucracy the US government erected over the last century and a quarter.
In a masterful article, Jeffrey Tucker of Brownstone Institute described the dystopian reality of America’s administrative state.
The last two years have given us a chilling lesson in who really runs the country. It’s executive-level agencies that are utterly unresponsive to anything or anyone, except perhaps the private-sector forces of power that have revolving doors back and forth. The political appointees tapped to head agencies such as the CDC or HHS or whatever are basically irrelevant, marionettes about whom the career bureaucrats laugh if they pay any attention to them at all.
The article, The Origin and Operation of the US Administrative State , is both depressing and enlightening. I urge you to read it and share it. No one, left or right, reasonably wants to live the hell-on-earth Tucker describes. It’s a hell of our creation whose flames and fumes rose so slowly and gradually that most of us failed recognize our republic was being burned alive.
Last week, I dropped a quote from Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America. That was a famous quote from Part II, book 4 of his masterpiece.
Today, I want to draw your attention to a less known paragraph a little down the page. In it, Tocqueville compares two kinds of despotism: one in which the people vote for their masters (who never really change), and one in which the government becomes full private. Tocqueville prefers the former.
It goes like this:
I do not however deny that a constitution [meaningless elections] of this kind appears to me to be infinitely preferable to one, which, after having concentrated all the powers of government, should vest them in the hands of an irresponsible person or body of persons. Of all the forms which democratic despotism could assume, the latter would assuredly be the worst. When the sovereign is elective, or narrowly watched by a legislature which is really elective and independent, the oppression which he exercises over individuals is sometimes greater, but it is always less degrading; because every man, when he is oppressed and disarmed, may still imagine, that whilst he yields obedience it is to himself he yields it, and that it is to one of his own inclinations that all the rest give way. In like manner I can understand that when the sovereign represents the nation, and is dependent upon the people, the rights and the power of which every citizen is deprived, not only serve the head of the State, but the State itself; and that private persons derive some return from the sacrifice of their independence which they have made to the public. To create a representation of the people in every centralized country, is therefore, to diminish the evil which extreme centralization may produce, but not to get rid of it.
Tocqueville is making the argument that European monarchies should install legislatures who have some ability to check the king. Remember, he was writing in the 1830s after the French Revolution made monarchy look great again. But, Tocqueville’s warning seems reflected in Tucker’s reality. We are no longer sovereign men and women, but subjects to an administrative state that cares nothing for our moods, needs, or assertions of rights. Might makes right, to the bureaucrats, not natural law. Our old Tea Party slogans about the rights of man are about as effective as the cries of “help me!” in The Fly:
When I told you last week that it’s too late to rescue our country, I wasn’t kidding or exaggerating. I was not angry or depressed. To the contrary, I wrote my endorsement of Eric Greitens with the coolness that only confidence allows. I am confident that the republic is dead, that we are subjects of a hostile and heartless power, and that the only way out is through.
Going through means hurting a lot of feelings, breaking a lot of covenants, and destroying institutions most of us once held in high regard. It means eliminating entire departments of government and saying “no” to federal money.
Few politicians of any stripe will sacrifice their reputation and the prestige of their position to destroy the wicked administrative state. And fewer hold out hope of being liberated from this malice. Jeffrey Tucker, for one, doesn’t sound very optimistic:
Let’s not be naive about the prospects for change. It is going to require far more than merely electing a new class of supposed rulers via the democratic process. The real rulers are too smart to subject themselves to the business of elections. Those are designed to keep our minds busy with the belief that democracy still survives and therefore it is the voters, not the government, that is responsible for outcomes.
I am told that one reason Missouri’s administrative state (along with the legislators whom the bureacracy manages) turned against Governor Greitens was that he threatened to destroy, in the words of one former Representative “everything we have worked for.”
“He yelled at us like we were children,” he told me.
Apparently, prestige and honor—not serving the people—is what drives a lot of people to run for office. That prestige is “everything we’ve worked for.” And we’ve seen this play out, as the people who actually run for office to serve the public get chewed and spit out short order.
When Greitens came along and reminded the politicians and bureaucrats that their title of “citizen” outranks their status as “officials,” the officials rebelled.
I don’t know if Senator Greitens can succeed in destroying the administrative state in Washington. But it’s the only political mission I give a damn about. Destroying the bureaucracy is America’s only hope for survival, and Eric Greitens is the only candidate with a strong enough vendetta to carry out that assault regardless of how history or the media might treat him.
Furthermore, I consider that the bureaucracy must be destroyed.
Officiale delenda est!