No political expert could have predicted that in one remarkable month, the
speaker of the House would be forced out, the speaker-designate would
resign, and the president would be impeached, despite his use of foreign
aggression as prime agitprop in his personal war against the truth.
As Democrat impeachment debaters warned, the system of government as we have known it is coming apart at the seams. But, as the rising stock market would indicate, this is not a bad thing. A total shakeup is long overdue. What Washington doesn’t want to face is that the rest of the country — indeed the rest of the world — will be better off without the last remaining Leviathan state.
Consider the larger historical processes at work in reshaping public life.
In the early part of our century, it seemed the total state would displace
the classical liberal ideal. Communism was called progress, and freedom was
called reactionary. But these days, a powerful new logic of history has
taken hold. The forces of power are being overwhelmed by the forces of
This glorious renaissance began with the crumbling of Soviet socialism.
Toppling as well were the regimes that had been ideologically and
financially sustained by Soviet power. The Berlin Wall was torn down,
Ceausescu was shot, Czechoslovakia was divided up, and Poland and other
ancient civilizations were freed from barbarism. Only two communist states
remain — Cuba and North Korea — and they are isolated, impoverished, and
While each of these events could be explained by standard analysis, the
overriding force at work is far more sweeping, broad, and powerful. The
people had lost all confidence in the reigning ideological apparatus. As
the people became ever-more bold, and the leadership lost its will to power,
these permanent-looking states fell apart.
The U.S. establishment was anxious to interpret these events as a victory
for “democracy,” as if the stability or non-existence of the right to vote
were all that was at stake. The hidden hope was that the ruling regime
could never be overthrown here, where democratic mechanisms mask a massive, entrenched, and unconstitutional power structure.
And yet the meltdown of the communist states underscored the best-kept
secret about political power, identified first by French philosopher
de la Boetie, and then by Scottish historian David Hume, South Carolina
statesman John C. Calhoun, and Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises:
political power is always far more fragile that it appears.
The rulers in every society must constitute a tiny minority, since they
live off the majority as a parasite lives off its host. The rulers sustain
themselves and their privileges by convincing the public of their inherent
legal, moral, and political legitimacy. That’s why the state always needs
ideological rationale. If this rationale breaks down, the rulers find
themselves without a pliable citizenry, and can be forced to abdicate.
This well-kept secret is no less applicable in democratic states than in
autocratic ones. The more intrusive a government becomes, the more it risks
its own legitimacy and thus existence. When the state becomes an
institutionalized threat to liberty and property, the leading source of
social instability and injustice, it invites the many who are ruled to look
more critically at the position and character of the few who rule them.
The people of the United States have put up with a vast expansion of
government power in our century — requiring the virtual scrapping of the
Constitution — because there has always been some overriding rationale. There were wars to fight, depressions to end, poverty to abolish, and foreign
foes to vanquish. The American people proved to be longsuffering to a fault.
But with the collapse of the Cold War, the U.S. regime seemed to grow
rather than shrink. It claimed to be “indispensable” to the entire globe,
even as it nationalized medical care, curbed the right of individuals to
guns, harassed businesses with ever-increasing regulations, raised taxes to
historic highs, revoked the freedom of association, and even murdered an
entire community of religious secessionists. The U.S., founded to be an
exemplar of the blessings of liberty, had been transformed into an
imperial power without a persuasive pretext.
The seeds of revolt were planted in 1994, when an increasingly radical GOP
extended its critique from the competing political party to the entire
structure of government. The “revolution” of 1994 was delayed through
betrayal and strategic maneuvering, but the impulse that gave rise to it
In his trysts and lies and coverups, Bill Clinton may have thought he was
merely living out a teenage fantasy. In fact, he was setting himself up as
Exhibit A in an ongoing public trial of big government itself. The most
astute and guilty of our oppressors are already packing their bags. The
most arrogant and power mad will stay until the bitter end.
Behind the mayhem, then, there is a clear logic. Imperial D.C. rule over
the country and the world is being radically challenged, and systematically
brought down, by dawning public awareness. If the process continues long
enough, we can abolish the cruel welfare-warfare state, and restore the
model and ideal of liberty America once was, and can be again.