October 24, 2021

ROGER KIMBALL: The Farce of American Despotism.

Marx famously adapted Hegel’s observations about history repeating itself, noting Hegel forgot to add that it does so first as tragedy, then as farce. That is the mode of American despotism at the moment. The Soviets had the gulag, we have “cancel culture” in our universities and a brittle obsession with race and weirdo sexuality everywhere. Are we supposed to be proud or alarmed that Rachel Levine, (Richard) is the first “transgender” Assistant Secretary of Health and four-star admiral? Tocqueville saw the essentials of our peculiar servitude in his brilliant analysis of “democratic despotism.” Naturally, though, he missed some of the more farcical aspects for who, in 1830, could have predicted “International Pronouns Day” or phenomena like Rachel Levine?

Montesquieu put his finger on our situation when, in Considerations of the Causes of the Greatness of the Romans and Their Decline, he noted that “in a free state in which sovereignty has just been usurped, whatever can establish the unlimited authority of one man is called good order, and whatever can maintain the honest liberty of the subjects is called commotion, dissension, or bad government.” Montesquieu was talking about the moment when the Roman republic gave way to the autocracy of Augustus. Mutatis mutandis, what he says applies equally to our situation in which sovereignty has been usurped and concentrated in the hand of a tiny oligarchy that mouths clichés about “our democracy” the better to subvert it.

America’s Newspaper of Record explains what happened early in Ron Klain’s Biden’s administration: Oh No! Someone Replaced Joe Biden’s Copy Of The Constitution With A Copy Of 1984.

(The Babylon Bee’s headline will be very confusing to those who work at the Atlantic, where 1984 is viewed as a how-to guide for efficient government.)

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