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.