Bill Collier- Freedomist
Ralph Benko has forced out into the open what many of us have privately known or felt about our future and its possibilities. The future belongs to the populists, not the warfare-welfare state, but how that future is reached and when is an open question. The forbes.com piece written by Mr. Benko is in and of itself, as I see it, prima facie evidence of the historical necessity of ending the corporate warfare-welfare state of the 20th century and replacing it with a constitutional republic ruled by the People in their communities and states.
This message of the triumph of populism over gigantism in statecraft is not well received in some parts, especially amongst conventional two-party thinkers.The broad tendency amongst many of the conventional thinkers inside the two-party establishment seems to be to take the populist and limited government message of the Tea Party movement and label its practitioners with some epithet, like “racist” or some such thing. Never mind that the epithets are just that, epithets, and not facts. The real issue is a refusal on the part of some to seriously answer the inconvenient questions that the Tea Party asks, namely questions about the need for or the validity of the warfare-welfare state as it has been crafted since the 20th century.
This question cuts both ways, making big government conservatives and big government liberals equally uncomfortable with those who would ask it. Neither the big government liberals around President Obama nor the big government conservatives around Mitt Romney want to open up such a can of worms. This does not mean that they are bad people. The anachronism of those who learned to thrive in the old warfare-welfare state, and who came to associate that entity as synonymous with the nation itself, is as much a part of the well-worn path of historical necessity as the “barbarians at the gate” who dare to question the very NEED for keeping the old guard around.
This cyclic nature of history is
These cycles of gigantism followed by populism are like a sociological DNA.
Consider this- when scientist re-engineered the DNA of fruit flies, they discovered that within a few generations the DNA would “reset itself” to its norm.
If the natural state of social man is to seek a populist environment, minus gigantism in statecraft, then the external influences which led to gigantism cannot forever fend off the natural tendency to reset. Once these external influences, such as an existential threat to humanity, are virtually eliminated, the impetus that compelled people to accept the unnatural warfare-welfare state in order to avert certain termination of their existence was removed and the natural tendency, to want more and more freedom for the individual and their free associations, becomes an irresistible urge.
It may seem to many that the Tea Part movement, which is asking inconvenient questions about the warfare-welfare state, just “came out of nowhere” but there are historical forces at work which, to my mind, make both the Tea Party movement and the ultimate demise of the warfare-welfare state inevitable, if not in this generation, then in the next.
Here is where a new narrative is emerging, not something contrived, but something that has the logic of history to back it up, and the wisdom of common sense to make it a living and present reality.
Ralph Benko, who, full disclosure, is a good friend to the publishers of the Freedomist, has written a piece that may indeed become the fundamental narrative of the whole Tea Party movement. The url is here: http://www.forbes.com/2010/12/13/tea-party-government-war-opinions-contributors-ralph-benko.html
The basic thesis is simple, compelling, and hopeful for every populist heart- with the demise of existential threats to the human race What is more, the public’s appetite for the warfare-welfare state is greatly diminished, in fact, there is no popular consensus in favor of anything but the elimination, almost en toto, of the warfare-welfare states of the 20th century., although serious threats exist in the form of Iran or North Korea, the need for the warfare-welfare state is greatly diminished.
This may be going beyond Benko’s narrative, but the basic narrative is simple and powerful, and it explains WHY the Tea Party movement emerged so suddenly and, in less than 24 months, reshaped the entire landscape of American politics in a manner never before seen.
The logic of history is expressed, as I see it, by Benko’s paragraph on the Constitution-
“Under the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. is designed to be a ‘small r’ republic. That means that we citizens elect representatives to carry out our will. And the elected representatives are meant to be just that: representatives, not Supreme Leaders. During times of mortal threat citizens readily cede power to the elected officials who grow in power, prestige and position. It is a sensible course. Plain citizens are not, and know they are not, personally equipped to guide the U.S. through a potential apocalypse.”
Quite simply, the cycle has gone its course, and now that the existential threat is, at worse, an extremely improbable potentiality, the society that was born on these shores is moving back to its sociological DNA.
In history, the idea of something being inevitable is not applicable in the short term or to specific groups of people, historical necessity and inevitability are seen over the course of dozens, sometimes hundreds, of years and the path of historical necessities and cycles is never even or constant- often progressions through phases and cycles can look like a zigzag route with occasional double-backs, as if the society or people in question weren’t sure they were going in the right direction and had to step back a few steps, afraid they had gone too far.
No person or single generation can rely on historical necessity or inevitability, but in the end, history, like truth, will “out”
The question is not so much whether, ultimately, the historical necessity and inevitability of the empowerment of the People and the elimination of the warfare-welfare state will occur. The unknowns here are what that pathway will look like. Will it be strewn with the debris of failed attempts top halt its progress in the form of concocted wars and crisis that give just a few more PAINFUL years of life to the ancien regime?
Will it be the privilege of THIS generation to usher in the end of the warfare-welfare state and erect a people powered governance in its place or will this honor be surrendered and have to await another generation?
We are determined to see the “peace dividend” result in all power reverting back to the People, to live and manage their lives in their homes, private associations, local communities, and states with little external control by those who think they know what is best for them, but we know that to make this happen we must work hard and consistently because, inevitable as such a future may be, it is for us only a POSSIBLE future!
From Forbes.com By Ralph Benko
(Republished with permission)
The Political Consequences Of The Peace
With Peace in hand we’re ready to downsize our government
As a proud, card-carrying, rally-going member of the Tea Party Patriots (co-emcee of the 2009 Boston Tea Party, how iconic is that?), I have noticed how quickly some Progressives are to label us as racists. They genuinely believe, or at least suspect, that the Tea Parties are partly a reaction to the United States’ first African-American president, Barack Obama.
The quickest way to get kicked out of the Tea Party Patriots is to express any sign of racial animus. Since the TPP is by far the largest (2,800 chapters), most active and most authentic of all of the Tea Party groups, our public and vehemently enforced anti-racism policy is no small thing.
Yet my left-leaning friends are groping for the answer to a very interesting question: Why now?
Why now? Because, barely noticed by the political and media elites–world peace is breaking out. This is a tectonic shift in world culture, one that transcends left vs. right.
For almost 50 years–from the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, until the fall of the Berlin Wall on Nov. 9, 1989–the U.S. was beset by mortal enemies. It was an era of guerre a outrance, or war without limit, with Nazi Germany and the Axis Powers, and then the Soviet Union and its satellites, threatening America’s and the West’s liberal democratic values and our, and our allies’, very existence.
Now that epoch has ended. But cultural shifts take time: A country that has been at war for generations does not lower its guard quickly.
Shortly after peace began to dawn, dawn was clouded by the infamous 9/11 attacks. Having only recently emerged from an epoch of total war, the U.S. responded by going on to a total-war footing. We reacted by invading Afghanistan and then Iraq (which had methodically given out the misinformation that it possessed of weapons of mass destruction). At home we created the Department of Homeland Security and its most visible, and recently controversial, branch, the TSA.
Almost 10 years later, not one similar attack on American soil has occurred. The world remains a dangerous place in some very real respects–especially with nuclearizing rogue states such as Iran and North Korea–and this requires a significant degree of vigilance. Yet no external enemy or group of enemies has the military power to threaten the American way of life or our existence.
The U.S.’ military budget is the size of the next 14 nations’ in the world combined. Twelve of these 14 are our allies, and the other two, China and Russia, who might (or actually might not) be cast as adversarial, have vast landmasses to protect and certainly cannot afford to pick an all-out fight with a far better-armed nation. The American way, and existence, no longer is threatened from outside.
The defense budget is pumped up by threat of war. The grandiosity of these expenditures casts broad penumbras. The whole government grows. A single presidential motorcade, or a single U.S. senator’s office, comprises more people than the entire staff of the Executive Office under President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Mortal threat is the predicate for a “warfare/welfare” state. That’s over.
Under the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. is designed to be a “small r” republic. That means that we citizens elect representatives to carry out our will. And the elected representatives are meant to be just that: representatives, not Supreme Leaders. During times of mortal threat citizens readily cede power to the elected officials who grow in power, prestige and position. It is a sensible course. Plain citizens are not, and know they are not, personally equipped to guide the U.S. through a potential apocalypse.
But when the mortal threat has passed and the culture begins, however vaguely, to sense and trust in this, we citizens begin to reclaim our native power. In our era, MoveOn.org, the Progressive online movement, may have signaled the first stirring of a citizens’ uprising. The center of the uprising has passed to the Tea Party movement. Whether or not we Tea Partiers are thinking in terms of the end of the epoch of war, we sense that the federal government is wielding an unjustifiable amount of (our) power and of (our) money for an era of peace.
No longer content to delegate governance to our “leaders,” or to overlook their notable lack of competence, we are reclaiming the power we had ceded. We are slowly but steadily withdrawing the all important “consent of the governed” and demanding that our political leaders recede back to the representative status envisioned by the Constitution, and by Thomas Paine’s Common Sense and by the Declaration of Independence.
The Tea Party is not a racist or revanchist movement. Instead, Tea Partiers signal that society is beginning to perceive, and trust, that the epoch of total war has ended. War is the mother of the State. As we come to understand that the war is over the rationale for a gargantuan State disappears. Our officials, long finding delight in acting as a ruling class, are unlikely to surrender their privileges lightly. But without the rationale for such exorbitant privileges, surrender them they shall.
There are many ramifications to peace. We can make the transition to peace and prosperity easily in a few years–or painfully over a few decades. We can fail and stumble back into an epoch of war. How long this takes, its success or failure, is up to us, not to our representatives. It is our choice. It is our challenge. It is our opportunity.
Ralph Benko is a senior economic advisor to the
American Principles Project, and is the author of The Websters’ Dictionary: How to Use the Web to Transform the World. He is at work on a new book, A Golden Age: The Political Consequences of the Peace.
Ralph Benko, 12.13.10, 06:00 PM EST , the inevitable and the necessary will ultimately occur. This is why it says in Ecclesiastes 3 that “for everything there is a season” and in the same book it tells us that “nothing is different.” The change WITHIN the cycle is different for the people who experience it, but it is the same change, the same cycle, and the more it seems to change, the more it repeats what has always existed.plus ça change: the rise and fall of gigantism in statecraft occurs in a very similar and well-worn pattern.