Here is the second part of a 3-parts series on The Establishment. With our first topic, Defining “The Establishment”, we described the characteristics of The Establishment. In this portion, we will consider what makes The Establishment so powerful and dangerous.
The Roots Of The Establishment’s Power
The roots of the modern American Establishment’s power lies primary in the naivete of the American people. Consider this sign.
Here is the story behind the sign.
The sign “The Buck Stops Here” that was on President Truman’s desk in his White House office was made in the Federal Reformatory at El Reno, Oklahoma. Fred M. Canfil, then United States Marshal for the Western District of Missouri and a friend of Mr. Truman, saw a similar sign while visiting the Reformatory and asked the Warden if a sign like it could be made for President Truman. The sign was made and mailed to the President on October 2, 1945. (continued here)
Truman fashioned himself as a leader willing to make the tough decisions, and that is a good thing. However, as good citizens, we also have the responsibility to not to pass the buck. Yet when they make their ridiculous promises, passing the buck is what conniving politicians ask us to do.
Where do the roots of the welfare state and our massive entitlement programs lie? These programs rest upon our unwillingness to assume personal responsibility for charity. Remember The Parable of the Good Samaritan? Did Jesus define love of neighbor as a government program or as a personal responsibility?
When one of us needs help, what will our leaders in Washington D.C. know of our plight? When you walk down the sidewalk, and you see someone collapsed on the street, will it do any good to wait for President Barack Obama to do something? When your neighbor needs you, won’t you do something? Let’s hope so. Nonetheless, in our naivete, we waste hundreds of billions of dollars stealing money from taxpayers so politicians can redistribute that money to their voting constituencies.
At our nation’s founding, the American People were not so naive. They understood that man is an inherently sinful creature. Even today, most remain familiar with this quote.
Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely. — Lord Acton in 1887 (from here)
The sentiment expressed in that quote goes back much farther than 1887. In fact, Lord Acton’s quote is often attributed to William Pitt who said this in 1770.
Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it. (from here)
Like their British cousins, the Americans of 1770 were students of the King James Version of the Bible. The Americans of 1770 understood that “there is none good but one, that is, God” (Matthew 19:17).
Therefore, to avoid tyranny, 18th Century Americans took a Conservative approach to government. They passed laws, the Constitution being a prime example, which defined the powers of government. That is, they wrote the Law to say what the government can do. If the Law did not authorize the government to do a particular thing, they did not allow their government to do that particular thing. At the same time, 18th Century Americans limited the government’s control over the individual. If the Law did not specifically prohibit an individual from doing a particular thing, then they thought that individual had the right to do that particular thing. In this way, 18th Century Americans empowered the individual and disempowered their government.
So why have we with the passage of time become so naive? There is this unfortunate thing about American Capitalism. Although Capitalism gives us a wonderful opportunity to use of the fruit of our labors as we wish (that is, to exercise the Right to Pursue Happiness), no system created by man is without flaws. And the flaw of American Capitalism is that it has bred the best of this world’s salesmen.
Within the context of a competitive market place, we want good salesmen. To ensure repeat business, any good salesman knows he must work to keep his customers happy. Otherwise, that salesman risks losing customers to more ethical competitors. However, when citizens become naive about human nature and the function of government, the profession of politics provides an excellent opportunity for unethical salesmen. The profession of politics rewards those who cunningly lie.
When the electorate becomes naive, unethical politicians succeed by making unethical promises. Why?
- Winning only that first election is critical. Once elected unethical politicians use all the resources of the public treasury to win future elections by buying the support of organized political constituencies. Politics is the one profession where it is perfectly legal to accept bribes.
- Negative campaigns work. Unethical politicians do not run on their records; they destroy their opponent’s reputations by distorting their records. The military calls this sort of thing information warfare.
- To defend their access to government funds, organized political constituencies support the election of corrupt leaders.
- Because of the secularization of our government-run education system, the average citizen does not believe man is inherently evil and readily subject to temptation. Thus, when a politician asks for greater power and the trust he needs to fulfill his campaign promises, the public is too easily tempted by those promises.
- Because the average citizen was educated about government by a Socialist education system, Socialism sounds reasonable to much of the electorate.
- Much of the electorate, dependent on government handouts, fears change. That’s why many refer to Social Security, for example, as the third rail of politics. Yet this costly program, already robbed by previous generations, threatens to bankrupt the nation.
- Most of the public is too busy running their own affairs to investigate the lies politicians tell them.
In the preceding, did I tell you anything you did not already know? Perhaps. Nonetheless, that was not my objective. What I hope to do is to get you to reconsider the candidates defending the status quo. Because the status quo is corrupt, we must elect people willing to suffer the persecution of liars, people dedicated to returning our nation back to its origins as a Constitutional Republic.
In the next and last installment of this series, we will discuss what we can do to reform The Establishment.