Yesterday I wrote about how Thomas Paine’s most celebrated work here in America, Common Sense, is less than perfect, and pointed out a few pieces as examples of his imperfect positions and thoughts. I think I need to expand on that concept somewhat. I don’t think any person’s work or thinking is even close to perfect, there is no such thing as perfect. Even works I fall head over heels in love with when first read, over time and other readings find themselves under my microscope, with all flaws and weaknesses scrutinized thoroughly. But this isn’t a bad thing, for either the works or me, no harm in it at all. It does not, however, diminish my love for those works. The flaws paint the authors as human, makes them more real, gives them flesh and blood and bones and gives their work more weight by making them more human, closer to my fallible self, more real.
Which doesn’t mean I excuse the failings. I don’t excuse failings anywhere, In me or others. To begin doing that now would be, to my mind, heresy of the highest order.
I see problems in, for example, the Constitution. An example;
Article 1, Section 8, Clause 18: To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
Tell me you don’t see the problem here. It’s a plain as the nose on my face. It grants the federal government nearly limitless power. That was the argument given by Patrick Henry when he argued against it when Virginia was ratifying the Constitution, one which I agree with completely. When Alexander Hamilton (that asshole) created the first national bank, it was argued that it was outside of his power and indeed the power of the Constitution to do so, but this clause was cited as the basis of the banks constitutionality. This clause, and Hamilton’s actions, paved the way for everything from the Fed, to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and a host of other GSEs, to the war powers act and warrantless wiretapping. It touches everything.
The ideals in much of this great document may have been egalitarian, but this part of it is very much the opposite, very authoritarian in nature.
If the Tea Party “Patriots” really want to find the people responsible for their pain, they need not look to the current administration. They should look no further than the founding fathers themselves, the men who stood arm in arm with the first tea party patriots in Boston, whose own creation is responsible for the governmental authority under which they chafe so furiously.
All that said, I think the constitution is a very excellent document, one of the best ever written. Click here to read a link which explains why. Ben Franklin had his head screwed on straight when he made the above linked speech. I think I’ll dissect one line, if only a hair, and put it into current political context.
“Much of the strength and efficiency of any government, in procuring and securing happiness to the people, depends on opinion, on the general opinion of the goodness of that government…”
How can the current administration hope to work if this is true? Is it me or are the people unhappy? They are, and rightly so. Billions and billions of dollars going to keep multi billion dollar conglomerates afloat, so the mechanisms of capitalism can be maintained and running as smoothly as possible. But one must put the truth to this statement, It is not just this administration, but the last as well, and both parties in both the house and senate that must be faulted for the current morass we find ourselves in. A $14,000,000,000,000 hole just doesn’t up and appear out of nowhere. It took YEARS to create. It will take years to undo. And until the work is finished, the people will remain unhappy.
Much of the anger is both real and legitimate though. And both parties are at fault. The democrats are, to my mind anyway, doing what they can to fix it. They are not the party of no. But is the effort to fix this economy strong enough? Enough enough? That is uncertain, only time will tell. There is one thing certain from my perspective, though. The Democrats currently own the concept of “fixing it” and owning it. Am I Biased in this? Damn right. I am Democrat. If you think different about any of this, by all means, let me know. Just know that I am going to dismantle your statement word by word if you do, so choose your words carefully.
And, Ben said “MUCH of the strength… of government”, not all of it. The current administration will be fine, given enough time to work, and patience on the part of America. That second bit, the patience, needs a bit of work though, doesn’t it? 🙂
Except for the second viddy, that’s it from here. Later!
Today’s nuggets, from Bertrand Russell’s “A Free Man’s Worship”, via bartelby.com: But the beauty of Tragedy does but make visible a quality which, in more or less obvious shapes, is present always and everywhere in life. In the spectacle of Death, in the endurance of intolerable pain, and in the irrevocableness of a vanished past, there is a sacredness, an overpowering awe, a feeling of the vastness, the depth, the inexhaustible mystery of existence, in which, as by some strange marriage of pain, the sufferer is bound to the world by bonds of sorrow.
Brief and powerless is Man’s life; on him and all his race the slow, sure doom falls pitiless and dark. Blind to good and evil, reckless of destruction, omnipotent matter rolls on its relentless way; for Man, condemned to-day to lose his dearest, to-morrow himself to pass through the gate of darkness, it remains only to cherish, ere yet the blow falls, the lofty thoughts that ennoble his little day.