Thursday, November 5, 2009

Ruminations on the Fifth of November

Perhaps, with such a long history, Britain may ultimately be better off than the states. How many now remember the 5th of November in a way that the government does not? There are alternate traditions, and historical characters that represent them, such as Guy Fawkes, who represent such traditions. As they did in the Restoration, they can, should they so desire, re-appropriate the traditions; do away with the insanity of the modern state, and yet, still remain British.

But what man would work here? Our founding fathers tried to construct a Constitution, but as soon as the ink was dry Alexander Hamilton was prying the white space open with a chisel to get his national bank through, and by now we ought to admit by any measure this experiment was a failure. The party that shouts loudest about making the government actually obey the Constitution is the one that is out of power; perhaps we should throw them all out and install a monarchy? Indeed, this is what nineteen or so years of following politics has taught me- ideally we should have someone playing as king of the hill for the sole purpose of keeping all the other bastards off the hill. The political process might start with a vote, but it ends with the use of force against one's neighbor.

But the bastards are on the hill. The elephants stomp one part of the Constitution and the Donkeys another- and both appear to be delighted to keep what ever power the last administration was able to pry from us. And, unfortunately, their revisionist histories (for both the left and right have them) form the background. We suffer from a tyranny of democracy, and so, in some sense, a crown would be a more fitting sign of protest than a mask, but it's a symbol that has no real context here.

So, it seems unlikely that we can achieve freedom and yet remain American, at least, not in the same sense that the British could end Parliament and yet remain British.
Therein lies our problem. No one who wants to stop the craziness wants to demand a constitutional convention because the likelihood is that the progressives would show up and make a document that says explicitly what they now do with creative interpretation. Oddly, in a country where re-inventing oneself is a time-honored tradition, we don't have a context for restoration; for saying, 'Well, that experiment didn't work out to well, let's take it on back a bit- you know- before the federal government regulated toilets and rot like that.'

The alternative to the king of the hill are many, many hills. In fact, one finds in European history, the best sort of governance seemed to occur when there were an awful lot of governments. If the prince next door would offer you better terms, and you could walk there, your prince had little choice but to meet your price.
How does that translate into American?

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