Impeachment Thoughts

One of the historian’s unique frustrations is: You find some guy’s papers in the archives, and he looks perfect.  He’s a nobody — perfect for the man-on-the-street social history we all wish we could do — but he’s a sharp observer, very quotable, has nice handwriting (a real godsend). He’s a compulsive letter-writer, and you see that his papers cover the date of some big event — Ft. Sumter, Pearl Harbor, the Stock Market Crash, whatever.  So you eagerly flip to it, and… nothing.  The whole world’s going up in flames, and this guy’s talking about baseball or his horse throwing a shoe or something.

Well, future historian, since I know how much that sucks, I’ll spare you.  If you’re plowing through my papers (you’re welcome for all the Slave Leia pictures, by the way) and you get to the “Impeachment of Donald Trump” section, you’ll have something.  Maybe nothing interesting, or particularly coherent, but at least it’s something.  Professional courtesy.

If nothing else, this impeachment fiasco confirms that we’re ruled by fools.  No earth-shattering insight, that, I realize, but there it is.  Really it’s just math — since most people in all times and places have been fools, it stands to reason that nearly every human who has ever lived has had a large part of his fate decided by an idiot.  This is true even of those blessed to have seen good leadership in action, as even the best men are fools about lots of things.  Up to and including the things that make their reputations.  George Washington, for instance, was indisputably a great leader, but a terrible general — with Cornwallis trapped on the Yorktown peninsula in Virginia, he had to be talked out of moving the Continental Army north, to reconquer New York.  He was one of history’s great captains, but I bet I could take him in a game of Risk.

But as the Z Man points out today, “democracy” seems to generate a unique kind of idiocy.  This too is no unique insight — William F. Buckley meant the same thing when he said he’d rather be ruled by the first 2000 names in the Boston phone book than by the faculty of Harvard — but like all obvious things about human nature it’s lethally easy to forget.  A politician in a “democracy” is an unholy mix of circus performer and whore.  Somehow convinced that the audience’s applause comes from its appreciation of her own superior virtue, not rude biology, she slips further and further into narcissism, never bothering to wonder why, if the house is packed to the rafters every night, she’s still sleeping three to a room while the circus owner has a mansion and rides around in a limo.

Democracy’s founding fictions reinforce this.  It’s easy to see yourself as the People’s Tribune, I imagine, if you just look at the numbers.  All those people voted for you, which confirms how wonderful you are!

A better analogy is the professional sports team.  Lots of people wear the team apparel of the Los Angeles Chargers.  You can find lots of online forums passionately devoted to them. Lots of L.A.-area bars are festooned with Chargers’ stuff.  The bobbleheads at ESPN talk about the Chargers several times a day.  And yet, come game time, the Chargers only get about 32,000 fans at the stadium.  Those are the actual voters — the rest is just social media noise.  And it’s worse than that, actually.  We all know that the vast majority of people who picked up a Chargers’ shirt because it was in the clearance bin, or ordered a drink at a bar with Chargers’ memorabilia on the shelf, would never bother to attend a game.  So even people who think of themselves as “Democrats” or “Republicans” barely bother to vote, much less follow “their” team in office.  Even the groups that get pandered to the most — old people, veterans, union goofs — don’t turn out in proportionate numbers.

Come election day, the People’s Tribunes are decided by old cranks on loan from the home, a few office drones on their lunch break with nothing better to do, and homeless people lured in with a promise of a short dog and some change.

But since no one without a vast, yawning chasm in her soul would ever submit herself to the indignities of “democracy” in the first place, these newly-“elected” fools hie themselves to Washington, where the money boys feed their self-delusion.  They read about themselves in the newspapers, see their names on internal party polls, and since none of their “constituents” could pick them out of a police lineup, they learn that the only way to keep the applause coming is by doing what the newspapers and the money boys say.  Thus the spectacle of “impeachment.”

And not just “impeachment,” of course — as we dissidents have been pointing out for decades now, practically no government action since the late 1950s has had The People’s approval.  Had The People been consulted at any point between 1960 and now, America would still be a White Christian nation.  Lots more White boys would still be alive, having never been sent to some irrelevant, unpronounceable place to die.  Lots more Black folks would be alive, too, since abortion disproportionately affects Blacks and abortion was always a fringe lunacy — even a half-century of nonstop propaganda has barely pushed it into majority support.  Gays would still be in the closet, since even after a propaganda barrage that makes the abortion thing look like a mere suggestion public tolerance of homosexuality polls even lower.  The borders, of course, would be closed — they don’t allow those polls to be taken anymore, because “immigration restriction” polled at something like 75% just a few years ago and the lunacy of the political class in a “democracy” going hard against three-quarters of the entire population is too glaring even for this tv-and-iCrap-addled country to stomach.

The People keep giving the wrong answer, in other words, so The People will not be asked anything of importance.  Same as it ever was.

The problem with democracy, though, isn’t that people are fools.  People are fools, of course, but since that’s as universal as gravity, any human institution will be staffed entirely with fools.  But see George Washington, above — just as the general characteristic “great leader” doesn’t necessarily translate into any specific competence, so the general truth “people are fools” doesn’t mean everyone is a fool about everything.  Since we all know at least one other human being, we all know a blithering idiot who’s remarkably shrewd about one little slice of life.  Junkies, for example, are idiots — taking hard drugs is a remarkably stupid idea, as every addict I’ve ever met readily confessed.  And yet, when it comes to getting their drug of choice these morons are endlessly inventive.  Billy Bob up the holler has six teeth and a fourth grade education, but he can MacGyver up methamphetamine out of household products like a Chemistry PhD.

The problem with democracy is twofold.  The first — that it’s the best technique ever devised for organizing self-righteousness — deserves a book in itself.  The second, though, is covered by a single word: ultracrepidarianism.  It means “the habit of giving opinions and advice on matters outside of one’s knowledge.”  Peter Strzok, for example, was probably a perfectly competent FBI agent, when it came to doing the things the FBI actually hired him to do.  But he decided that he was also some kind of political science expert, as well as a human love machine, and here we are.  See also: our “elected” “representatives”  What else would you call sending someone like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whose areas of expertise are “mixing drinks” and “having big tits,” to Congress, where she’s expected to make decisions of war and peace?  Ultracrepidarianism is a feature, not a bug, of democratic systems, which is why even the very best “representatives” fuck up everything they touch.

Combine required ultracrepidarianism with real shrewdness and you get Stephen A. Douglas.

Take those, add in religious fervor, and you get the suicide cult that is the Democratic Party.

And here we are.

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15 thoughts on “Impeachment Thoughts

  1. Joseph Moore

    Excellent, as usual. Now I’ve got another $10 word I definitely need to remember, if not throw around every once and awhile: “I’m impressed by you insouscient ultracrepidarianism, madam. Truly dizzying!”

    Aside: there seems to be a corollary of sorts to your ‘ruled by fools’ + ultracrepidarianism observations: the bigger the fool, the higher the office, the more subjects he’ll feel confident pronouncing on. I have a friend, a judge in Chicago (roll that around in your brain) with the same Lib Arts/Great Books education as me (we were roommates), who did law while I did business school – two flavors of high-end VoTech, I should think, but he feels free to ‘correct’ me about economics, while I can only imagine the scorn should I correct him about law. It’s guys like him that drive the extremism of the free market types: the idea that this self-righteous clown would imagine he has anything constructive to contribute to a discussion on that pesky business of providing all that boring food, clothing and shelter stuff is so appalling that advocating pure unbridled market forces in lieu of state control – control by him and his buddies – seems mere prudence. But I digress.

    Question: have you watched any Razorfist rants? Younger dude, gamer, but very sharp (I think he’s got a PoliSci degree, but he somehow survived with his mind intact) who rants about many of the same topics you do. You might enjoy him. Here’s a sample:

    1. Severian Post author

      I am certainly not immune to ultracrepidarianism — I am, after all, just a man — but having extensive experience of members of several “elite” professions helps me keep it in check. I too had a college drinking buddy who’s now on the Federal bench. A competent performer, too, by all accounts, and not given to legal activism, but still… I’ve seen you running around in your underwear with a lampshade on your head, buddy, yelling about how you’re Queen of the Maypole. Don’t bring up that “majesty of the law” crap with me.

      Ditto with academia. Oh, what confidence my History Department colleagues had in their pronouncements on the war in Afghanistan! They knew just what to do. As it turned out, I knew a guy who was an officer in Special Forces. I suggested that they should talk to him. It was like asking your cat to factor a quadratic. Didn’t compute. What could he, a multi-lingual combat veteran who also had an advanced degree in History, possibly know about the conduct of military operations? If he really knew anything, he would’ve gone to private school, then straight onto the tenure track, just like they did.

  2. Pickle Rick

    Oh, how I hate politicians.
    They’re the suck-ups in the classroom we all remember from elementary school on, the obsequious hall monitors ever ready to do whatever it takes to grab a little power, mixed with the rock dumb professional athlete. They’re talent spotted in high school and choose their team early, get drafted by the minor league team, and one day hope to make the Big League.
    It’s exactly the trajectory of the current shitbag that’s my congressman- everything he’s done since high school has been in service to one day becoming a big name politician. He’s not there yet, because he’s not from New York or California or a POC or a bagel or a sexual deviant, so he has to play the “moderate” D to fool the drooling idiots (who think the Democrats are the party of the working man like FDR and JFK) who will take one for the team by voting for impeachment- in the hope his loyalty will be rewarded by the Party bosses and the money men, when he’s turned out of office in the next cycle.

    1. Severian Post author

      I knew a guy in high school who topped out in the state government. I don’t know what stopped him from rising higher — it certainly wasn’t his unwillingness to suck a dick (not a metaphor) — but for whatever reason, God in His wisdom spared us that.

      Being in school with this guy was a fascinating learning opportunity. I wasn’t the most normal of kids — being a big nerd and all — but I was nothing compared to this guy. I still had normal-kid interests — you know, making out with girls, making the JV squad, that kind of thing. All this dude wanted to do was network. He was going to be a politician, you see, and loudly announced that fact in any social gathering. He was the kind of kid where, if you had to have him over at your house for some reason — a group project or whatnot — he’d spend his entire time sucking up to your parents and scrounging through your medicine cabinet.

      Looking back on it, I really must’ve been dumber, drunker, and hornier than most kids my age. I was officially a liberal well into my twenties, but it seems like I’ve always been a shitlord at heart….

      1. Pickle Rick

        That’s why I can’t WAIT til election season. When those little politicians on the make start calling and knocking on my door, I’m going to really have fun messing with their heads. I’m going to be a transgender Muslim woman of color named Sasqueee’chia and see how they respond to that…

  3. MBlanc46

    There’s the remark attributed to Winston Churchill to the effect (I’m not going to take the trouble to look it up, as I’m jet-lagged and have had only one cup of tea so far this morning) that democracy not being so great but being better than any other system. Any thoughts on that? My own, not terribly-well-considered view is that a hereditary monarchy with a good monarch is the best conceivable system. The qualification, of course, vitiates the entire notion. So, democracy out. Monarchy out. Any other nominations?

    1. contrariandutchman

      Lots to unpack in that question.

      Churchill (iirc such a statement is indeed attributed to him) made the remark at a time when hereditary monarchy had been the practice in Europe for over a millennium, the flaws of that system were thus well known. Democracy was still very fresh at the time, today, after about a century of trying it, its flaws are much more obvious. Not to mention the rate at which “democracy” has degenerated.

      If democracy -guarantees- bad government (it looks like it) and hereditary monarchy is a crapshoot every time a new king ascends the throne, clearly you have to take the system where you at least get to roll the dice at least once a generation. (much more often in practice, the system usually managed to make really bad monarchs not last that long).

      What other options are there that are not bastardized forms of monarchy or democracy?

      I think we really should consider going back to the mixed/feudal government of about the 1200s. Montesquieu was onto something with his “Spirit of the laws”.

      1. Pickle Rick

        You’re putting the cart before the horse. We’ve got to regain control of the levers of power before we can even begin talking about political solutions, or cultural ones.

    2. Joseph Moore

      It would seem that we are unfit to rule ourselves, and yet must do it anyway. Taken merely as history, Samuel was on to something when the Israelites would not accept the idea of being ruled by the Law of God, but wanted a king, and Samuel listed how that was going work out:

      “…And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants. And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants. And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work…” etc.

      (Aside: if only the king would stop at 10%!)

      Machiavelli, in his “History of Florence,” (a copy of which was owned by Jefferson) states that, looking over history, the best government – Rome under the Republic – pitted the interests of the people, the nobility, and a supreme leader or two against each other. In that way, there’s at least some hope the inevitable sociopathy of one group could be resisted by the other two, who all the while would hold up that legendary (as in, generally fictional) Roman virtue as the ideal. Ideals can be useful sticks with which to beat down the rabid dogs a little, even when they are rarely practiced.

      Despairing of virtue, we hope to achieve some base level of functional civilization by pitting selfish interests against one another. In earlier eras, men like Brownson were smart enough to know that was not going to work; in the 1870s he already observed the decline in civic virtues from the revolutionary days, when the local Congregationalist pastor could and did walk into the schools in his parish whenever he felt like it, and the Bible and catechism were the chief textbook; and his day, when all of that had already largely been removed, putatively in an attempt to accommodate/assimilate Catholic immigrants (but in reality, mostly merely reflecting the Unitarian and then secularist turn of the Brahmins up at Harvard).

      The experiment has been running now for over a century. “Civic virtue” has come to mean, if anything, “fighting for social justice.” We must destroy society in order to save it. Fighting off ‘we are so doomed’ feelings. Charlemagne was not a nice man, exactly, and we be wildly lucky to get someone like him to restore order; the kind of strong man we will eventually get will make Charlemagne look like a saint.

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  5. MBlanc46

    Harking back to the quote from Buckley, perhaps the ancient Athenian method of selection for office by lot is the way to go.

    1. Severian Post author

      I myself have been in favor of this for a long, long time. And I mean completely random selection. If you’re over the age of 18 and not presently incarcerated in a criminal or mental institution, you’re eligible for office.

      Let us be ruled by the typical products of American schools for just one week, and American schooling will once again be world class.

      Let us be ruled, for one week, by blue-haired, nose-ringed, Gender Studies majors, and male-female relations will be reset to the 9th century.

      Let us be ruled, for one week, by the kind of people who Keep Up with the Kardashians, and Hollywood will be razed and the earth salted.

      Etc. I’m with H.L. Mencken: “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.” So yes, though the heavens fall, let us have REAL democracy!!

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