By Joseph Randolph
This past Sunday a Wisconsin paper ran a story on a new and young mayor in the state. This newbie is an unmistakable conservative, which is the chief reason he won an election in tax-ridden Wisconsin. In the course of the article on the mayor, however, a previous mayor, who had significant interaction with the new mayor, indicated that he did not know what the new mayor stood for.
My puzzlement might have stopped there, except on the following day, Monday, I heard a talk radio host say that he too could not figure out why the previous mayor could not figure out the new mayor. The radio voice said that anybody—to include himself—who had bothered to talk with the new mayor knew in less than twenty minutes of conversation that the man believed in limited government. The radio voice then added that powers of perception greater than his own could surmise the same about the new mayor within less than a quarter hour. However, the prior mayor had had days, weeks, months, in fact over a year of exposure to the new mayor, and nevertheless still drew a blank on him.
Now I asked myself how the previous mayor had missed a very discernable and unmistakable quality about the new man. Answer: to the elder mayor, the new mayor, who ran on conservative principles such as austere fiscal responsibility and reducing taxes, must obviously be leaving something unspoken. He must have some "vision" of sorts for the people. This probably means that to the old mayor, an elected official worthy of being an elected official is presumed to be planning some plethora of programs to benefit the people.
By contrast, though apparently not registering with the prior mayor, the new mayor wants restraint in his government. Ronald Reagan famously said that "Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem. From time to time we have been led to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people."
I suspect the prior mayor could hardly stomach these immortal words of Reagan. The mayor might judge such words the thoughts of a simple man proposing a simplistic scenario for simple ears for a mammoth government that cannot accommodate such simplified nonsense. The arrogance of such a judgment, however, is precisely what Reagan was combating, for without resisting the aspiring elite, the aspiring elite will bury the country in government. The government will be running the people, and the people will scarcely have a democracy anymore because they will have the kind of government which constrains the people for elitist visionaries having visions of planning for the people. That kind of "strong" government, however, bodes ill for the people. Statists, however, are historically callous about the consequences of their visions.
Thus, the tea parties, perhaps the greatest example of citizen clamoring against government since the 1960's, are opposed and mocked by the elitists who closed the door after themselves and their protests and especially now that they have gained gigantic political power in Washington. Protests are out because the correct politicians are present and no longer outsiders. Their door is shut and their table unwelcoming.
These elitists do they tolerate their own example from decades ago, because they never really believed in tolerance anymore than President Obama believes in and practices "transparency." The tea totters are viewed as rabble rousers, and not true radicals, for they are obscure and highly similar men and especially men and especially white men, the elitists contend. They do not "represent" the diversity of America, we are told. They are like the monarchical aristocracy of yesteryear, on the way out to oblivion, but too undiscerning to recognize the dusty datedness of their vision of government by the people.
It is the elitists who are monarchists of dated bent. The radicals from the 60's and their heirs are living in high places and opposing anyone who opposes them by every rule and precedent they can violate. Moreover, like the callous response of Marie Antoinette to the need of the people in revolutionary France, these present-day monarchists are mocking and indifferent to the clamoring tea party people who demand their government turn from its tyrannical turn. Worse, these monarchists take offense at the clamoring citizens below for having the audacity to question those above them.
I suspect the past mayor in Wisconsin does not understand such outraged citizens anymore than he understands a new mayor who prefers his citizens to keep more of their money than his city government. The new mayor understands that government rarely competes with the efficiencies of the home and the private sector. However, and in today's political climate, this assumes the people have money left to do much of anything with—after the monarchy has mortgaged the wallets of the people so the monarchists can bring their visions to fruition and the people to despair.
Joseph Randolph is an academic and writer living in Wisconsin. His 2010 book Debilitating Democracy: Power From The People, is available from Wasteland Press and Amazon as well as Barnes and Noble. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.