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Memorial Day always makes me stop and think about how unlikely it is that The United States even exists. All the risks that had to be taken, all the sacrifices that had to be made, all the little things that had to turn out just so. It’s incredible that America came into being, and still exists. And then I think about how, if just a few things had gone wrong, none of this ever would have happened. And how easy it would be for us to destroy all that was built by all those remarkable people and remarkable events over the past few centuries.
With the strength of our economy and our military, no foreign power can realistically threaten America. To paraphrase Lincoln, if this country is to die, the cause of death will be suicide. So when I see our “government of, by and for the people” start to view the people of this great country as an impediment to their goals, I get very concerned. Such as when I wrote this, nearly two and a half years ago:
I view much of modern politics as a power struggle between two groups: 1) Classical liberals who value individual liberty and a restrained government of laws not of men, and 2) Statists, who believe that an active government can be a good way to buffer the flaws of individuals to better move us toward a Utopian vision of peace and equality. The problem here is that Statists gravitate toward government (understandably), including the administrative state, regulatory agencies, and other “career government” jobs. This leads to a situation touched on by @EJHill’s recent post, “There’s no such thing as checks and balances.” When one political party attempts to increase the size, power, and influence of government, and the other party wishes to decrease the size, power, and influence of government, then the government is unlikely to remain an uninterested bystander when elections come around. Checks and balances between the different branches of government become less relevant when they all have the same goal. It’s no longer a government of, by, and for the people. It’s the government versus the people. This has been tried before; with consistent, predictable results.
If Russia had played a role in our last presidential election, that would have been concerning. First of all, it would mean Putin, one of the most powerful men in the world, is a fool. Why would he want Trump as President when he could have Clinton? Second, that is something close to an act of war (except when Obama does it to Israel). Third, it’s a security concern in other areas.
But this is scarier – our own government is trying to control our elections. The FBI (and other government agencies) attempting to influence our elections is absolutely terrifying. Not unexpected, but terrifying. Republicans don’t just need to run against their opponent – they also have to run against the media, the educational establishment, and popular culture. OK, that makes it tougher. Now, they have to run against the very government they hope to work in someday. Meaning that if they somehow manage to win, they will be working with lots of people who are very open about the fact that they don’t want them there.
I’m not sure this is fixable. Classical liberals tend to avoid government, and thus are unlikely to seek a career in the administrative state or some other role in government. Thus, the government naturally will tend, over time, to become populated nearly exclusively with Statists, who will nearly unanimously favor Democrats. Government is, by definition, the seat of power. Do we really expect these people to decline to use their power to control the path of government? Remember that they view government as a tool to improve the greater good – they have only our best interests in mind. If you were on the side of the angels, and you had the power of government, would you not use it to help more people if possible?
None of this is unexpected, and as far as I can see, none of it is correctable.
So who did what at the FBI? The FISA court? Some other government agency I’ve never heard of? I don’t know, and I doubt we’ll ever find out the details.
But this is terrifying. Someone, please tell me I’m overreacting.
When President Obama, the Hillary Clinton campaign, and the Democrat party attempted to use the FBI and other government agencies (staffed by unelected government workers) to control the outcome of a presidential election, I found that to be an existential threat to America. At that time, I doubted that the investigations into the matter would yield much fruit. Because, obviously, those investigations are being performed largely by those same unelected government workers, who have a stake in the outcome of elections. What motivation do they have to reduce their own influence, and thus reduce their own ability to do what they view as good for society?
It’s been nearly two and a half years since I wrote the above passage. I don’t think anything has changed. Or perhaps it has and I’m being overly cynical?
What do you think? Is this threat to our country as serious as I’m making it out to be? And do you think there’s a chance this trend can be reversed?Published in