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October 08, 2009

It Has Been Forever Thus

Two really good articles I've been derelict in linking.

The common theme? Nothing much changes in politics. The immediate point is that the crying over the "unprecedented" assault on President Prissypants is pretty damn well precedented, and so too is the eternal clash of the populist and elitists forces in politics.

Here's one of those standard type openings which surprise nobody as to the second-paragraph surprise, but it's effective nonetheless:

A young physician refers to the president of the United States as "the crackpot in Washington who is ruining the country." A businessman decries his "socialistic tendencies," another denounces him as a "despot." A banker claims the president is wrecking the banking system. The Republican Party proclaims National Debt Week and reminds Americans that deficit spending is passing a mountain of debt onto future generations. It is, one prominent Republican maintains, "the crime of the century."

Shock, shock, he's not talking about Obama, but you knew that. But still very interesting. Wake up, leftist racism-baiters -- this country was very divided about socialism in the 1930s under a white president, too, and we're not united in the socialist cause just because we have a black president now.

Obviously, there's an awful lot of racism and racial condescension balled up in that assumption by the left -- Gee, we have a black president now, people have to support what they have never supported before just because he is black. Otherwise we'll hurt his feelings, and you know how these people get when their feelings are hurt.

What? Huh? We've come a long way from MLKJr.

And then there is the centuries (millenia?) old clash of the elitists and populists:

Populism is the belief that the people should rule themselves. It is the opposite of elitism (or progressivism), which holds that society should be ruled by a credentialed elite - by those who come from the right families or went to Ivy League schools or who have big money or political influence. As Thomas Jefferson noted:

"Men by their constitutions are naturally divided into two parties: 1. Those who fear and distrust the people, and wish to draw all powers from them into the hands of the higher classes. 2. Those who identify themselves with the people, have confidence in them, cherish and consider them as the most honest and safe, although not the most wise depository of the public interests.

"In every country these two parties exist, and in every one where they are free to think, speak, and write, they will declare themselves. Call them . . . by whatever name you please, they are the same parties still, and pursue the same object."

The battle-lines in American politics today are drawn between liberals, the would-be aristocrats who would control every aspect of our lives, and conservatives, who represent the interests and values of most Americans and who believe that people should be free. In that conflict, intellectuals and non-intellectuals will be among those picking up their pitchforks.

Some even suggest that this struggle dates all the way back to the Medieval Courts of Chancery.*

* Gibberish I threw in to make fun of Keith Olbermann, still showing off the fancy-pants learnin' he got from Cowflop College.

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posted by Ace at 03:10 PM

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