There are such things as neo-Confederates. Lots of states rights, I imagine, which I all for, but no doubt a lot of Lincoln-hatred as well, and that’s a deal breaker. Lincoln is my favorite. I know someone who’s expressing an interest in Jefferson. Jefferson holds no great interest for me. A bright guy, very bright, talented, creative, curious and accomplished. Complicated. But just another second-tier intellect, and morally unimpressive. Not hero-material. Lincoln exhibited a breathtaking wisdom. So any contemporary movement no matter how sound in some of its precepts, that is too obtuse or biased to recognize greatness -- not my thing.
Otherwise I might now have started calling myself a neo-Confederate. Not in its Slave Power aspect. In its rebellion against, in the modern case, growing tyranny (rather than in the Civil War over-reaction to Lincoln’s election, and a loathsome love of individual tyranny, over slaves.) Was that a confusing sentence? The current Federal government is doing now what the old-time Confederates falsely accused Lincoln’s USA of doing. You don’t see it yet.
So while it will of course never happen, I am not -- ill-thought-out thought my idea is -- inclined now to argue strongly against the dissolution of the Current Union, into something more along confederated lines. A closely allied body of semi-dependent states, sharing a universal Constitution which oversees general rights, border security and national defense. In other words, what the current Constitution was designed to secure.
The Frames were shrewd men, not idealists. Franklin placidly concluded that every republic throughout history becomes a tyranny. George Mason, per Madison’s notes said the government of the Constitution would start as “a moderate aristocracy” but it was at that time “impossible to foresee whether it will, in its operation, produce a monarchy, or a corrupt, tyrannical aristocracy. It will most probably vibrate for some years between the two, and then terminate in the one or the other.” I think we’ve been vibrating for just about long enough. Aristocracy isn’t an American word, but we sure do hear a lot of talk about the elite. These next few years will reveal whether or not we really do get an Imperial Presidency. Every Third World pathocracy calls its dictator a President -- maybe that’s what the word really means now. We shall see.
I was having a conversation, or a monologue, the other night, just a few words really, didn’t want to get all agitated and impose my rather narrow views on a tolerant confidant. I made a few assertions about how stupid Americans were and how we needed more immigrants, hard-working, who come here to prosper and contribute -- you know, like how it used to be -- to save us from ourselves and our stupidity and decadence. You see why I’d be reluctant to go on like that, outloud I mean, rather than here, in the harmless pages of my little secret garden of nettles and weeds.
The teens I used to teach who were fresh from Mexico were well-mannered and respectful; their classmates who had been here for a few years and had become Americanized were lazy smartass morons -- you know, American. We expect teenagers to be teenagers. We also expect them to engage in that normal level of pretense and hypocrisy, called good manners, that allows civilization to continue existing.
Why does it bother me, our current trajectory? Politics is my spectator sport. Like football, which is not my spectator sport. But similar. Not the same, though, for a number of reasons. For all that there may be cheating, and corruption in sports, a payed-off player, a biased ref, the whole game is out there for everyone to see. In politics, often, the loser wins. The lesser man, the incompetent, the foolish, the delusional, the destructive. Can win. Hence the emotion and outrage, in this case, from me. It’s not just a game. The outcome sets the course, and there are real consequences, not only statistical in nature.
The world has never been good, and America was not better in the past than it is now. The rich always buy influence, subvert politicians and process. Of course. The difference is not in human nature. It’s in the erosion of our institutions. The checks and balances of the Constitution are ignored and distorted, through the accretion of tradition, like Roman Catholicism or Rabbinal Judaism (sorry, if that’s your thing), at the expense of the meaning of the original document.
Nothing lives forever.
My hip thing is better tonight. Took half an aspirin earlier, so maybe I'm living in a fool's paradise. Well of course I am. But the pain in my back is pretty bad. Someone gripped my shoulder this evening and it just informed me how seriously I need some sort of chiropractic manipulation, or something. I finally managed to get the number of someone who's recommended. We shall see if I do anything about it. I do seem to be in love with my pain.
It occurs to me every once in a while, not as often as you might suppose, that I am a very strange guy. I was honed in on someone today, giving information about some particular topic of mutual interest, and when I do that I completely tune out the rest of the environment, almost a tunnel vision thing, my one dependable intimacy. How sad. I hope it doesn't seem rude. I suppose I should think to make introductions, or include others in the conversation, but I don't think to do that. Not good with names, hard to recognize faces, no small talk. Before people enter the inner circle of my awareness -- where they become individuals, who matter -- they are pretty much objects to me. Of course they matter, but I relate almost entirely on an informational basis. I depend on the kindness of friends, their understanding and tolerance of how odd I am. Otherwise I would have no friends.
Ah well. Ah well.