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Belmont Club

The Route of All Evil

January 9th, 2013 - 1:06 pm

One person remarked on Twitter that never before has the US Constitution seemed so fragile and wondered why so “few people seem to care about it.” But Mario Loyola at American Interest has an explanation. The Constitution now obstructs the way both parties do business. It’s in the way so it’s got to go.

For decades, Democrats and Republicans alike have invested heavily in governance schemes that erode the Constitution’s separation of powers and mar its proper functioning. The Federal judiciary has uniformly rubber-stamped these schemes. The consequence has been an unsustainable spree of borrowing, spending and overregulation at the Federal level, cyclical fiscal crises at the state level, and less accountable and less representative government at every level.

In order for the money to keep flowing both parties had an institutional incentive to outflank the Constitution. They’ve been doing that for years. The overriding imperative was to keep the music playing. And since as everyone knows, when money and principle collide, principle takes a hike, it’s time for that old piece of paper to go.

Not that we’ll miss it, as a New York Times editorial has already explained. Loyola argues that by cleverly shuffling powers around the Congress has managed to usurp the power of the states and the executive has managed to usurp the powers of the Congress over the years. Now the process is near to completion and as one piece of doggerel on the Internet puts it:

Roses are red
Violets are blue.
All of my base
Are belong to you.

It’s game over. Well … not really. Reality has interposed some problems.

There’s still the insoluble money problem to take care of. Walter Russell Mead notes that even with the Constitution out of the way there remains the problem of how to pay for things. Take California. It’s as Blue as state as you can get. But it still has bills to pay. The answer is apparently to squeeze all the stakeholders harder.

as the financing dries up, the state goes after revenue wherever it can, which eventually results in squeezing the incomes of people like professors and doctors. The increasing weakness of the professional guilds makes it easier than ever before for the state to feed the budget beast by raiding their coffers.

That is why people who voted for Obama, from Alan Dershowitz to the unions on down, are feeling betrayed.  They thought they were going to get the special treatment. But the system has run out of “other people’s money” already. So now it is going after their money. With the Constitution disabled — and which the supporters helped disable in the first place in the mistaken belief the raids would always be on other people — there is nothing left to protect them.

No justice at all except poetic justice.

What the future holds may be foreshadowed by events in Venezuela. Roger Noriega, writing for Foreign Policy notes that in Venezuela, the hyenas and the buzzards are now fighting over the country’s bones. “With cancer-stricken Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez clinging to life in a Havana hospital, an intense struggle for power is under way in Caracas, pitting Cuban-backed ideologues against narcogenerals.” This is where socialism, taken to its limit goes. Gangsterism.

What’s to stop them? The Venezuelan constitution is now about as unenforceable as Oliver Cromwell’s enactment of 1657 making it illegal to eat mince pies anywhere in England on Christmas Day.

Socialism is a fairy tale they tell chumps but the insiders know that money rules the roost. It’s about ‘who sent you’ and ‘how much are you?’ Noriega notes that Chavez’s Bolivarian revolution was never about high minded principle. It was always about payoffs. Noriega writes that:

The Cubans are working feverishly to ensure Maduro’s succession to preserve their multibillion-dollar windfall of oil and aid from Caracas. But they are not alone among foreign powers with an interest in preserving Chavismo after Chávez. China has pumped about $25 billion in loans that must be repaid in the coming years. Russia has sold $9 billion in arms and eager to capture lucrative oil and gas deals. Iran exploits Venezuelan territory as a platform for evading international sanctions and projecting a deadly Hezbollah and Quds Force presence near U.S. shores.

In addition, narcotraffickers have embraced the Venezuelan state a willing partner in their dangerous activities. According to sources familiar with ongoing investigations, U.S. officials have fresh, compelling information implicating Chávez, Cabello, his former minister of defense, his army chief, his newly appointed deputy Minister of Interior, and dozens of other senior military officials in cocaine smuggling and money laundering. These Venezuelan officials help transport tons of cocaine to Central America, Mexico, the Caribbean, the United States, West Africa, and Europe. …

Venezuela’s inept democratic opposition has no strategy for defending its interests, while career U.S. diplomats are stumbling toward legitimizing an authoritarian narcostate without getting anything in return.

Patria o muerte. Venceremos and all that.

That’s where the US taxpayer comes in. The Chavistas and the Cubans may be too tough to take on. As are the Russians, the Syrians, the Iranians and the Chinese. But since the music has to keep on playing and diplomats need to be paid you may be sure that any number of schemes to stop global warming, outlaw handguns, police the Internet and otherwise bother people who are soft enough to clamp down on will be proposed as urgent and vital. That’s all our hyenas can really handle.

The taxpayers in the Western democracies are soft targets. And a word about the warriors for Global Warming: they may be scavengers, but they’re our scavengers.


The Three Conjectures at Amazon Kindle for $1.99

Storming the Castle at Amazon Kindle for $3.99

No Way In at Amazon Kindle $8.95, print $9.99

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