Tuesday, November 06, 2012


"I hope to see the Conservative Party return with a substantial majority. I have bitter memories of the Attlee-Cripps regime when the kingdom seemed to be under enemy occupation. I recognize that individually some of the Liberal candidates are more worthy than many of the Conservatives, but any advantage to them can only produce deplorable instability.... I have never voted in a parliamentary election. I shall not vote this year. I shall never vote unless a moral or religious issue is involved (e.g., the suppression of of Catholic Schools). Great Britain is not a democracy. All authority emanates from the Crown. Judges, Anglican Bishops, soldiers, sailors, ambassadors, the Poet Laureate, the postman and especially ministers exist by the royal will. In the last 300 years, particularly in the last hundred, the Crown has adopted what seems to me a very hazardous process of choosing advisers: popular elections. Many great evils have resulted but the expectation of a change in my lifetime is pure fantasy. Crowned heads proverbially lie uneasy. By usurping sovereignty the peoples of many civilized nations have incurred a restless and frustrated sense of responsibility which interferes with their proper work of earning a living and educating their children. If I voted for the Conservative Party and they were elected, I should feel morally inculpated in their follies - such as their choice of Regius professors; if they failed, I should have made submission to socialist oppression by admitting the validity of popular election. I do not aspire to advise my sovereign in her choice of servants".
Evelyn Waugh, "Aspirations of a Mugwump", in the Spectator (London), 2 October 1959.
"A statesman is an easy man he tells his lies by rote, a journalist makes up his lies and takes you by the throat. So stay at home and drink your beer and let the neighbors vote".
William Butler Yeats. "The Old Stone Cross". The Collected Poems of William Butler Yeats. (1956).
As per the sentiments of both Yeats and Waugh, I will not be nor have I ever voted in any type of elections. The sordidness of contemporary politics prevents one from even thinking momentarily about participating in an event which is by definition vulgar and for the most part, at least as presented in the public realm, for the most part stupid. To add to which, I in fact find aspects of both programmes of both American political parties to be both repugnant and attractive: id. est., I am in favor of the strictest type of gun control (AKA no selling or even ownership of hand guns or any other type of gun by the general public), as well as opposed to abortion and pornography. I am in favor of the strongest type of environmental laws on development and climate change legislation and violently opposed to 'affirmative action' and any legislation dealing with immigration which is post-facto to the Johnson Immigration Act of 1924. Therefore, it is quite easy to see that the programmes of both political parties cannot by definition fully find favor with me. Added to which, the structural nature of the American political system leaves me both frustrated and cold. A political system which to a very limited degree, was workable circa 1789 has been to my mind, completely out of date for the last hundred years and in the past half-century almost unworkable in fact. With a system of 'division of powers', as opposed to parliamentary sovereignty, almost ensuring that political gridlock be the rule rather than the exception. In addition, the system confuses roles and offices: the President is an odd combination of a temporary Monarch / Head of State, who is also as the Americans charmingly describe it 'the chief executive'. When unfortunately, most of those elected to those post are usually sent for reasons having to do with their fitness for the former and not the latter. Ergo, the rather, shall we spotty curriculum vitae of past holders of the office in the recent past: one a peanut farmer, who promised to 'never lie to you'. Another a second-tier Hollywood film actor, who could not remember members of his own cabinet. Another was a ex-alcoholic, whose all but five years in public service, lead him naturally enough to make reference to 'Grecians' and to name the son of the Lord God, as his 'favorite philosopher'. And of course there is the current incumbent, who notwithstanding his many solid qualities, was elected with less than four years of experience of national office. And with no executive experience whatsoever. The upshot of this bias by the voters is that the 'executive' in 'chief executive' is more often than not ignored in the selection process of the prospective candidate. Finally, of course the system of universal suffrage is also problematic in the extreme: a political system which mandates that illiterates, and uneducated & semi-educated have the same 'vote' as say the creme de la creme of the nation is to my mind nonsensical in the extreme. However as Waugh notes to expect change for the better in my life time is pure fantasy.
With all the above understood, the reader may ask himself why I believe that Governor Romney will be a better holder of the office than the current incumbent? Actually, per se, I do not. It is clear to me, from the one time that I had an opportunity to hear both man speak that it is self-evident, that notwithstanding personally rather unattractive character aspects of the American President, that he is (marginally perhaps) more intelligent, more capable and probably will, notwithstanding everything else, have a better rating as President than Governor Romney would. My concern lies elsewhere. It lies in fact with the following quote from the late, great British diplomatic historian of the twentieth century, A.J.P. Taylor in his book on the Habsburg Empire:
"The German nationalists, the spokesman for the 'people of the state', suddenly behaved as though they were the representative of an oppressed minority; and their members of the Imperial Council modelled their tactics on the Irish obstruction at Westminster, though the Irish wished only to finish the English connection, whereas the Germans, at any rate in theory wanted to make their Empire stronger....Their conduct in the Imperial Council had not even the ingenuity and wit which had dignified their Irish example; it was mere hooliganism and violence, a fit index of the political culture of the 'state people'. The nationalist members shouted and stamped for hours on end; they banged their desks and hurled their inkpots at the Speaker, until at last the police were called in and put an end to this grotesque parody of representative government. Still more: Schonerer and his friends called on the German population of Austria to revolt and demonstrating masses crowded the streets of Vienna, Graz and Salzburg; crowds in no sense revolutionary, but composed of rich, respectable citizens...who now welcomed this irregular way of displaying their importance....The movement against Badeni was the culminting point of all German negations, which did more than anything else to destroy the Habsburg monarchy: the Germans were strong enough to prevent the transformation of Austria into a non-national state, but not strong enough to transform it into a German national state " 1.
Less anyone cannot guess my meaning here, it is rather simple for 'Germans' read the White population of the United States. Except whereas in the Hapsburg Monarchy the German population never accounted for more than a plurality of the population, currently the White population accounts for upwards of three-quarters of the population 2. It is this core elements of this population which are: i) make-up the heart of that political primitivism called the 'Tea Party' movement; ii) which is also violently opposed to the incumbent President , his party and policies. If we look at matters historically speaking, the last time that a Presidential Candidate of the Democratic Party won a majority of the White vote was in 1964. In short, we have a case wherein the political grouping which is supported by the largest element in the country is unwilling to govern responsibly and in turn is unwilling to allow the political groupings supported by the vast majority of the rest of the population to go about governing the country in a rational fashion. Hence the hysterics which erupt every time the country submits to rule by the Democratic Party: the Carter years, the Clinton years and now the ‘Tea Party’ hysterics of the past four years. Given this sad, but undeniable empirical fact, I submit that notwithstanding his undoubted qualities as the holder of the office of President, the current incumbent’s remaining in office for another four years is something to be unwished for and avoided. Especially since he will no doubt not be elected by more than a hairs breath, which will in turn lead to more hysterics, more political blockage and so much less the prevalence of good government. Something which the American polity needs ever so much at the present time. Of course in a Leibnizian, best of all possible worlds, the majority element of the country should submit peacefully to rule by the minority if it is derived by democratic means. Unfortunately, I know of no such Leibnizian monde in fact. Either in the present time, nor historically speaking. To expect that mankind would change his nature at this late date is as Evelyn Waugh would accurately characterize it: ‘pure fantasy’.
1. A. J. P. Taylor. The Habsburg Monarchy, 1815-1918. (1942), p. 230-231.
2. This figure is derived from John Cassidy of the New York, see: John Cassidy, "Cassidy's Count." The New Yorker. 5 November 2012, in www.newyorker.com.


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