Plato — a wise man himself — once noted that “the punishment which
the wise suffer who refuse to take part in the government, is to live
under the government of worse men.”

Everywhere we look today, we see honest and decent people struggling
to adjust their lives to accommodate the insatiable demands of the
scheming and corrupt. Elected officials demand more. Educators demand
more. Appointed bureaucrats demand more. More pay, more power over our
lives, and more prestige and recognition for their “position.”

They use the power we have given them — the consent of the governed
— to take what they want. If legislators want more pay, they vote to
raise their salaries (and those of their political friends). If
educators want more power to indoctrinate students, their administrative
handmaidens write rules excluding parents from decision-making. And if
bureaucrats want to expand their control over our lives, they just write
down their shopping list in the form of “administrative code” and then
send the police to enforce their illegal demands. I challenge anyone to
find a single, solitary government outpost anywhere today, where someone
is not abusing his or her power in order to plunder productive,
taxpaying citizens, then spending the proceeds to buy the next election.

Shadow Armies

Political parties are shadow armies. Their job is to do battle in the
field of ideas. The Democrats in America have wielded the real political
power — budgetary authority — for at least sixty-five years, since the
days of Franklin D. Roosevelt. They have used our tax money to craft a
nation of their own vision — often while overlooking their
constitutional and fiduciary responsibilities.

Democrats have used their years of rule to build up an incredible
political machine. It consists of social security recipients, public
employees, union members (especially the teachers’ unions), the
disenfranchised (those not yet receiving their “fair share” of what is
plundered from others), and deviants of all sizes, shapes, colors, and

Did I mention the Press? Every year, Democrats have given away
hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars of the public airwaves
to radio and television broadcasters. These grateful recipients have
repaid Democrats with everything from fun-filled, feel-good, “don’t dig
up any dirt on us” reporting, to good, old-fashioned lies and propaganda
about the opposition.

Standing in opposition these long years in the leadership desert,
Republicans have had the captains of business and industry, along with
an unpredictable assortment of social and religious activists.
Demographics and strategy have shined favorably upon the Democrats,
swelling their ranks. Republicans, sensing they were a dying breed,
reached out to make peace.

Then in 1994, against all odds, Republicans rallied their troops and
won a decisive victory on the voting battlefield, claiming both Houses
of Congress. Another skirmish erupted in 1996, but the lines held.

A decisive victory demands a dramatic surrender. One does not seize
the high ground, capture the city, and set the enemy to retreat — only
to call him back for negotiations! We frontline troops are fond of our
grand traditions. In warfare, the victor determines the conditions of
surrender. The table is to be set up on the battlefield, in sight of
all, and the leaders are required to do their duty — in war and in

If the troops, exhausted and battle-scarred, should determine that
their generals are in league with the enemy leadership, all bets are
off. As my friend Otto Scott (Otto Scott’s Compass) will tell anyone
smart enough to listen: “People forget; America is a very violent
country.” The veneer of civilization is very much thinner than most of
us would care to admit. Add the abrasion of betrayal, and the
battlefield of ideas can easily shift to the reality of the Rodney King
riots in Los Angeles, the Olympic park pipe-bombing, Flight TWA-800
leaving New York, or the ever-present terror of the suicide bombers in
the Middle East.

Ideas do not cease to exist because they are inconvenient for those
in power to deal with. Nor does the war of ideas; armies exist to fight.
We — the troops on the ground — paid the price to put you — the
Republican leaders of Congress — into positions of power. Bring us the
political heads of Gephardt, Schumer, Clinton and Gore. Impeach the
judges who behave as if the Constitution were a roll of soggy toilet
paper, confined to a leaky outhouse. Shut off the funding spigot to the
Democrat’s army of teachers who eat from our storehouses through the
federalized education bureaucracy, while they turn our children against
us. Repay the television networks for their lies and deceit: charge them
their “fair share” for a lifetime of plundered public resources.
Permanently close the government departments that were used to reelect
our enemies. Return the tax system to sanity.

When leaders collude against their own troops, they turn their back
upon their own destiny, and that of their nation. The price of betrayal
is more than America can afford. Tired, cowardly leaders cannot preserve
the thin veneer of civilization.

[I wrote “The Price of Betrayal” almost two years ago. It first
appeared in the April 9 1997 issue of Conservative Consensus.]

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