It’s now been roughly three years since I first formulated my ideas on world politics in ‘Characterless Society’, back when Obama was running for office.
My writing at the time was inspired by wonder whether the hysterical faith in this political messiah was not at least partly misplaced — promising as he might be, he was still bound to play by the rules of an existing system, and therefore, to its usual inertia. At the time I was still unaware of the existence of Brett Stevens, and he has recently requested that I continued to develop the Characterless-thesis so that it could be posted on his blog.
Another purpose of this article is to clear up a question presented by Russell Campbell. When I discussed whether some persons were naturally more gifted than others to think and to make long-term plans, the query was raised if I thought there should be ‘experts’ to decide the role of others.
These ‘experts’ are the very people I’ve rallied against in the past, since they were the ones who did what they could to prevent me from bringing my philosophies forward. I hope to clarify all of that, and more, in this article.
Some have argued that restoring America to its greatness might be best achieved if Obama were re-elected in 2012. That way his political movement will come to be associated with America’s fall to status of the world’s second largest economy. Regardless of who is elected in ’12, that fall is going to happen, the momentum seems too great to prevent that from happening. It would put a president who goes back to the original constitution of the Founding Fathers in a better light with the general population.
That is, if America’s fall to the status of second largest economy would not happen on the watch of that president. Yet others have emphasized that if Obama continues his presidency in 2012, the nation would be so fundamentally changed that afterwards it might be too late to return to the traditional way of doing things.
Previously, Brett Stevens wondered how it could come so far. He wrote:
“How could all of this happen? We started out so well, with our ideology of freedom and the pursuit of happiness. Somewhere along the way, that changed into a neurotic pursuit of the crowd-pleasing, mainly because what pleases the crowd keeps them buying. And if it makes them neurotic, so much the better — then they need to buy more!” – Brett Stevens, ‘Collapse? We never saw it coming’ (April 2011).
In this article, I venture to explain how this all happened, and why I see no reason to think the current downward trend of events will be reversed.
People in the age of the original Founding Fathers were self-educated men who valued knowledge, objective thought, and took honour in hard work. Basically, they sprang from an age of Humanism and embodied it.
Today, the values of Humanism have been implemented into education programs by collectivist governments. The values of Humanism have been applied at large and as a result have been watered-down. The emphasis on developing an own opinion has become “everything is an opinion”.
The founding fathers were men with the pioneer spirit – they wanted to set up shop in the wilderness to be independent and self-supplying. Their creed of doing hard work to earn one’s place in the world by providing useful services and commodities, simultaneously developing one’s talents and skills, has become: “just print more dollars and live off rent” – digitally created artificial money that has no root in existence whatsoever.
The ideal of self-cultivation was transformed into “following the hypes of fashion.” Thinking objectively about what’s best for the country has become: “Formulate a message that can be sold to your audience.” Whatever you say, make sure the message embraces all, carries the smell of economic gains and has the right religious tone – if you do not, you have no chance to win any elections in the first place.
And if you do not win any elections, you have no chance to translate your ideas, good as they may be, into practical reality.
The bottom line seems to be: Can the moral and intellectual code of a few exceptional men, such as the Founding Fathers, be adopted into a political agenda and come out on top? I have significant doubts, since in general elections, this agenda will have to appeal to the masses, a great part of which are whimsical. For this reason, as De Tocqueville and Mill put it: “No man can struggle with advantage against the spirit of his age.”
The fire and zeal of the inspired reformer is not compatible with the apathy and the habitual, routine ways of the many. The exceptional man requires so much from himself and therefore, indirectly from others. Most require very little from themselves in honesty, and for this reason expect very little from others, too.
The theme of Obama’s campaign was; “Together, we can make this country stronger and better.” People waved flags and cheered on the streets, when this man set foot into the oval office. And then waited for him to do it.
They didn’t realize that even if he was president, he was not a dictator. He couldn’t act without so many advisors, councilmen and officials circling him, like the vultures of inertia. And could he afford to ignore them, if they were the ones to enact his policies? Would he be able to keep track of the bigger picture without the information provided by them? To not even speak of the lobbyists, backed by vastly powerful financial enterprises lurking in the shadows.
Politicians are ‘worked’ by personnel from various organizations, to stall decisions that do not suit their employers or even to remove them from the agenda altogether, and the higher you move towards the echelons of power, the more concentrated this invisible influence becomes. It was not without cause that Dwight D. Eisenhower repeated De Tocqueville’s warning against the growing influence of the military industrial complex, in his famous speech in 1961.
Many of those who circle the White House, Congress, and Supreme Court uphold the rhetoric of patriotism while it suits them, yet their real loyalty is not tied to the culture of their ancestors but to the profits of their future. When the country falls, these corporatists will fire many American employees, pack their gear, and move to India. They are, as Brett would say; “those who want to slurp up the corpse, not revitalize it.”
Boys, – and I’m telling you his from all my experience as a historian, politician, and philosopher – the Americans are screwed. And will need something as thorough as a revolution to set things right, to go against this inertia of procedures, committees and regulations. That means having mandates of power which are almost dictatorial and go against the spirit of the constitution and its balance of powers. And so the Americans will find themselves unwilling or unable to shift the course of the tide.
As a politician, I am paid to investigate the matters regarding the public life that need decision, to hear different stories and brainstorm about ideas, and then to decide for what I regard to be in the objective best interest of the populace.
As a politician, I find the whole political system is arranged so as to make it exactly impossible to do the thing I am hired to do. Politicians are organized into fractions, also known as parties. On your own, without allegiance to a party, it is almost impossible to gather enough votes to acquire a seat. And, once elected, without allegiance to a fraction it is almost impossible to gather a majority for any proposal.
Every party represents a certain section of the populace, so they are organized around the interests of employers, employees, religious people or environmentalists. As a result I know immediately what each fraction will vote the moment I consider any proposal on the agenda. A party that favours employers or employees will never consent to a proposal that might be explained as against the interests of the employers or employees. And if you challenge the members of the fraction to regard those interests in a different light, they will simply not listen to you, weary that your ideas might estrange the populace from the party. As a result, objective thought is per definition eliminated from the assembly of public decisions.
Taken all this together, I support Enlightened Autocracy. The best a country can probably hope for is an approachable sovereign who is accessible for the people with their ideas and requests, and who surrounds himself with a body of intellectually honest, goal-driven, objectively-thinking men, among which he stands as a pater-familias and Primus inter pares.
He won’t be tied to all sorts of procedures, so he can weigh down all rational arguments concerning the matters on the agenda, present the outcome of the deliberation, and enact his decision without further delay. Since he won’t be subjected to the short-sighted whims of the masses, he can present the real and clear grounds for his decisions, and he won’t have to surround himself behind a cloud of emotional appeasement, as is customary today. The real interests behind political decisions currently always remain a mystery, which gives rise to conspiracy theories as well as perpetual suspicion towards our political leaders – which should also be the moral leaders of our nations, not mere managers of collective financial arrangements.
Anyone will of course be free to disagree with the sovereign and his followers, and that person will be taken serious if he comes up with strong arguments. And if he has good ideas he should be accepted among the peers of the sovereign.
Today that is not possible, because true arguments will be mistaken for possible perspectives by the ruling academic elites. Since the rise of postmodernism in the sixties, thinking is no longer understood as a quest for truth, but as a clashing between different outlooks; what is preferable from one perspective might not be from another, and each position from which to decide between these outlooks is held to be arbitrarily chosen.
A preference for one outlook over another could not even be based on the real facts of the world, since for these academics, the perception of a fact is rooted into the theoretical perspective from which one observes it. Relativism has seeped into the memes of the ‘experts’, and consequently into the memes of society.
“Politically correct media, academia, and governments define what’s acceptable and what we’re allowed to think or say. These institutions oversee, generally through repetition and peer pressure, the dominant social landscape by championing particular cultural memes. These ideas then become embedded in the social consciousness of the populace.” – Quoted from the article ‘Collapse? We never saw it coming’ (April 2011), by Brett Stevens.
So, before we can do anything, we have to get rid of them, first.