Hail the Republic of Idiots

There has been much talk about experts of late – ’round about the time the very inexpert (in politics, at least) Donald Trump came along, all of a sudden, our experts were full of worry that we yokels were not paying sufficient attention to the experts. I’ve written on this before, but I want to quote a longish passage from one of the works of Chesterton – who lived at the dawn of the Age of Experts:

Now the peculiar peril of our time, which I call for argument’s sake Imperialism or Caesarism, is the complete eclipse of comradeship and equality by specialism and domination.

There are only two kinds of social structure conceivable — personal government and impersonal government. If my anarchic friends will not have rules — they will have rulers. Preferring personal government, with its tact and flexibility, is called Royalism. Preferring impersonal government, with its dogmas and definitions, is called Republicanism. Objecting broadmindedly both to kings and creeds is called Bosh; at least, I know no more philosophic word for it. You can be guided by the shrewdness or presence of mind of one ruler, or by the equality and ascertained justice of one rule; but you must have one or the other, or you are not a nation, but a nasty mess. Now men in their aspect of equality and debate adore the idea of rules; they develop and complicate them greatly to excess. A man finds far more regulations and definitions in his club, where there are rules, than in his home, where there is a ruler. A deliberate assembly, the House of Commons, for instance, carries this mummery to the point of a methodical madness. The whole system is stiff with rigid unreason; like the Royal Court in Lewis Carroll. You would think the Speaker would speak; therefore he is mostly silent. You would think a man would take off his hat to stop and put it on to go away; therefore he takes off his hat to walk out and puts it on to stop in. Names are forbidden, and a man must call his own father “my right honorable friend the member for West Birmingham.” These are, perhaps, fantasies of decay: but fundamentally they answer a masculine appetite. Men feel that rules, even if irrational, are universal; men feel that law is equal, even when it is not equitable. There is a wild fairness in the thing—as there is in tossing up.

Again, it is gravely unfortunate that when critics do attack such cases as the Commons it is always on the points (perhaps the few points) where the Commons are right. They denounce the House as the Talking-Shop, and complain that it wastes time in wordy mazes. Now this is just one respect in which the Commons are actually like the Common People. If they love leisure and long debate, it is because all men love it; that they really represent England. There the Parliament does approach to the virile virtues of the pothouse.

The real truth is that adumbrated in the introductory section when we spoke of the sense of home and property, as now we speak of the sense of counsel and community. All men do naturally love the idea of leisure, laughter, loud and equal argument; but there stands a specter in our hall. We are conscious of the towering modern challenge that is called specialism or cut-throat competition — Business. Business will have nothing to do with leisure; business will have no truck with comradeship; business will pretend to no patience with all the legal fictions and fantastic handicaps by which comradeship protects its egalitarian ideal. The modern millionaire, when engaged in the agreeable and typical task of sacking his own father, will certainly not refer to him as the right honorable clerk from the Laburnum Road, Brixton. Therefore there has arisen in modern life a literary fashion devoting itself to the romance of business, to great demigods of greed and to fairyland of finance. This popular philosophy is utterly despotic and anti-democratic; this fashion is the flower of that Caesarism against which I am concerned to protest. The ideal millionaire is strong in the possession of a brain of steel. The fact that the real millionaire is rather more often strong in the possession of a head of wood, does not alter the spirit and trend of the idolatry. The essential argument is “Specialists must be despots; men must be specialists. You cannot have equality in a soap factory; so you cannot have it anywhere. You cannot have comradeship in a wheat corner; so you cannot have it at all. We must have commercial civilization; therefore we must destroy democracy.” I know that plutocrats have seldom sufficient fancy to soar to such examples as soap or wheat. They generally confine themselves, with fine freshness of mind, to a comparison between the state and a ship. One anti-democratic writer remarked that he would not like to sail in a vessel in which the cabin-boy had an equal vote with the captain. It might easily be urged in answer that many a ship (the Victoria, for instance) was sunk because an admiral gave an order which a cabin-boy could see was wrong. But this is a debating reply; the essential fallacy is both deeper and simpler. The elementary fact is that we were all born in a state; we were not all born on a ship; like some of our great British bankers. A ship still remains a specialist experiment, like a diving-bell or a flying ship: in such peculiar perils the need for promptitude constitutes the need for autocracy. But we live and die in the vessel of the state; and if we cannot find freedom, camaraderie and the popular element in the state, we cannot find it at all. And the modern doctrine of commercial despotism means that we shall not find it at all. Our specialist trades in their highly civilized state cannot (it says) be run without the whole brutal business of bossing and sacking, “too old at forty” and all the rest of the filth. And they must be run, and therefore we call on Caesar. Nobody but the Superman could descend to do such dirty work.

Now (to reiterate my title) this is what is wrong. This is the huge modern heresy of altering the human soul to fit its conditions, instead of altering human conditions to fit the human soul. If soap boiling is really inconsistent with brotherhood, so much the worst for soap-boiling, not for brotherhood. If civilization really cannot get on with democracy, so much the worse for civilization, not for democracy. Certainly, it would be far better to go back to village communes, if they really are communes. Certainly, it would be better to do without soap rather than to do without society. Certainly, we would sacrifice all our wires, wheels, systems, specialties, physical science and frenzied finance for one half-hour of happiness such as has often come to us with comrades in a common tavern. I do not say the sacrifice will be necessary; I only say it will be easy.

Chesterton was writing before the experts left the factory and office and ensconced themselves in the government bureaucracy – but it is all the same. We must be bossed because in order to get things done properly: we idiots must be compelled to do it. And no debate! No long-winded speeches and objections from people who, at all events, don’t know what they’re talking about. We don’t really need elections and then debates in Congress – we really just need a President with a Pen and a Phone; a bureaucracy which will make up the rules as it goes along; a Supreme Court which will merely ratify what the experts decree.

The experts, of course, would have a case if they at least got things right from time to time. But, they hardly ever do – and when they do strike gold, it is more explained by happenstance than design. The reason for this is that the experts are still, well, human beings. In the aggregate, no smarter than anyone else out there. The chance that a CEO, General or President will be a genius is as small as the chance that any given musician will be a Mozart – almost zero chance, that is. Geniuses do come along; no one knows why nor can anyone predict where or when. When they come, the can shake up society in astonishing ways – some times in quite alarming ways. But you can’t take it into account – it’ll happen when it happens, and all anyone can do when confronted with a genius is deal with it. But almost all people at almost all times are not geniuses. And in this fact is why, on the whole, experts are the worst possible people to have in charge – once they self-select themselves and isolate themselves from the currents of society they lack sufficient input to arrive at valid decisions.

As long-time readers know, I have a fund of knowledge about history. What I’ll say now – and I really don’t like saying it, because it smacks of bragging – is that my knowledge of history runs to the encyclopedic. Something made me pick up one of my father’s books of history around about 1975 and I simply never stopped reading. So, I am an expert, as it were, in history – and thus pretty up on what people do and why they do it. But I’ve also got an advantage that more recognized experts don’t have: lacking credentials, I have nothing to fret about on the score of ability and I am also quite comfortable in talking about things, even deep things, with people who simply lack the knowledge I have. I can’t begin to count the times I’ve been caught short by the opinions of the ignorant – how something they will say or some point of view they have will shake the vision I have and bring it into great clarity…or even lead me down paths I never suspected. That is what the loud and unruly debate of a vigorous democratic Republic is for – to bring to light things we might not have considered. You simply cannot run a society unless everyone has their loud and boorish say. Unless the idiots, that is, are deeply involved in the creation of policy, the policies will certainly fail.

Had we been engaged in a genuine give-and-take debate among all the citizens, we simply would not have done some of the bone-headed things we’ve done. Take, for instance, Vietnam – a full airing of what was going on and what was proposed would have certainly run to the creation of a better policy regarding that. I know this because it certainly couldn’t have run to a worse policy. Take any political problem you like and run it through your mind – think what would have happened had there been a real debate, rather than decrees from on high. When did we have the debate about how many people should move here? When did we have the debate about what public education should be like? Where was the endless, contentious discussion about what trade policy is best with China? There has been no real debate – things are worked out by the experts and they present their findings to us, and demand we just go along…and subtly (and, these days, less and less subtly) call us wicked morons if we dissent from their shiny, new policy proposal.

It all comes down to what you want. If you want a tyranny which will decree, then advocate for that. But if you want freedom, then you can only have it when it is brash, loud, ugly and messy. The idiots must be in charge, or you simply won’t have a Republic.

26 thoughts on “Hail the Republic of Idiots

  1. Cluster March 21, 2017 / 9:04 am

    So Montgomery County in Maryland is a sanctuary county. They do not cooperate with ICE because they are enlightened progressives. Well thanks to those enlightened progressives, one little girls life has been changed forever:

    Jose O. Montano, 17, from El Salvador, and Henry E. Sanchez-Milian, 18, from Guatemala, were charged with first-degree rape and two counts of first-degree sexual offense after they allegedly attacked the girl at 9 a.m. last Thursday.

    How much longer are we going to allow “enlightened progressives” to have any say in how our country operates? How much longer are we going to allow deep state, unelected bureaucrats to have influence in policy and regulation?

    I hope the parents of this little girl sue the county into bankruptcy and expose the politicians who failed to protect her. Stories like this make my blood boil and what’s more infuriating is that you have to dig to find stories like this because the media will not cover it. Americans have a lot of work left to do to rid this country of people who should not be here, and of people who should never have any power.


    • Amazona March 21, 2017 / 2:47 pm

      You are right. The only thing that will get the attention of these people is to make them accountable. Not only through lawsuits, but by making oaths of office binding, so violation of an oath of office results in losing the job and the pension associated with it.

      In the same vein, I think any time someone learns that someone has voted in his or her name because of the refusal to demand a photo ID to vote, that voting precinct (or whoever made that decision) should be sued for the disenfranchisement caused by that negligence.

  2. Retired Spook March 21, 2017 / 11:44 am

    Caught a bit of Judge Gorsuch’s confirmation hearing this morning. The contrast between questions asked by Republicans and Democrats reflects the deep chasm in their respective thinking about the role of the judiciary. For the life of me I don’t understand how we as a country let ourselves get to this point where one side believes in the rule of law and the other side believes adherence to the law is only necessary when it benefits them politically.. That’s an over-generalization, of course, but the contrast is nonetheless stark.

    • Cluster March 21, 2017 / 11:58 am

      The chasm between conservatives and progressives has never been wider and I am not convinced it’s repairable. Primarily because the left has no intention of constructive dialogue and honestly believe that they are morally superior, and furthermore they willingly perpetuate any falsehood to support their position. How do you debate with someone like that? You don’t.

      • Retired Spook March 21, 2017 / 1:15 pm

        The election of Trumps has brought people into the political arena that either have never participated or haven’t participated in a long time. And one of the dynamics that’s playing out in our political system is that more and more of those people who haven’t been paying much attention in the past are now starting to do so. The vast majority of Leftist thinking just can’t withstand even modest scrutiny, and I think that many of the Millennial generation and even some Gen-xers who have been brainwashed by out educational system over the last 40 years are going to have to face the reality at some point that what they’ve been taught to think is simply wrong. Some of them already are.

        When we reach that point I think you’re going to see an ideological shift the likes of which hasn’t been seen in a century or more. I’m not naive enough to think that the far Left will ever be completely defeated, but I do think world events will eventually marginalize them to the point that the ones who are left on the world stage will largely be seen as artifacts of a failed ideology. Regardless, we should always keep a few of them around, maybe in a sort of zoo-like setting, just to remind civilization of how bad they were.

      • Amazona March 23, 2017 / 12:09 pm

        Gorsuch has alluded to the fact that judges are not supposed to rule according to their personal beliefs or preferences but only according to the law, but I think this “hearing” has provided a great opportunity for someone to step up and make this point very very forcefully. The very idea that there should be an ideological “balance” on the Supreme Court should be shot down every time some moron tries to bring it up.

    • Amazona March 21, 2017 / 2:44 pm

      I caught a few minutes of a talking head while in a waiting room this morning, opining about how Gorsuch, as a “replacement” for Scalia, maintains the “balance” on the Supreme Court. Why do we let these morons continue mouthing this concept without challenging it? Where in the establishment of the Court, the duties of the Court, the definition of the Court, is there anything about its need to have political “balance”?

      I see this belief constantly brought up by people on the Left, and we need to start challenging it every time it rears its ugly, stupid and ignorant head. It’s just another version of “it’s time we have a black/woman/gay/latino/whatever” president. I hope he sticks to this message and hammers it home every time some moron quizzes him on his personal beliefs and preferences. Just say it over and over again, Judge Gorsuch: “It doesn’t matter what I think. The only thing that matters is what the Constitution says.”

      I loved what Gorsuch said yesterday in his address to Congress, about going back over his decisions and finding some he really does not like, because they are based on the law and not on his personal preference. Duh. How much attention has that gotten?

      I think one of the biggest benefits of having Gorsuch on the SCOTUS is how uncomfortable he, and his stance on his role as a judge and as a Justice, will make the activists (Kagan, Sotomayor, RBG) and the squishies (Roberts, Kennedy).

    • Amazona March 23, 2017 / 12:06 pm

      Fortunately the mayor of London is on top of this, explaining to Londoners that this is just what you have to expect when you have so many Muslims in England.

      That is what he said, isn’t it? London’s Muslim mayor said terror attacks are “part and parcel of living in a big city.”

      England can’t do much about this kind of thing, having ceded legal authority to Sharia law when applied to Muslims.

      • M. Noonan March 23, 2017 / 9:13 pm

        Saw that earlier – and, after all, it is rarely someone the Ruling Class knows, personally, who is killed…just light a candle, send your thoughts and prayers and then start hinting darkly about an Islamophobic backlash and we’re all good…

  3. Cluster March 22, 2017 / 12:38 pm

    So do the enlightened progressives in Maryland have any remorse?

    ……the superintendent of the school district addressed the heinous crime by defending the school’s admittance of the two illegal immigrants and declaring that “it is wholly and entirely inappropriate for any of us, anytime, anywhere to say that we are going to deprive a 6-year-old, an 8-year-old, a 12-year-old, a 14-year-old, a 15- and 18-year-old of an education” because of one “horrible incident.”

    Apparently not, and this needs to be part of the 2018 campaign. Progressives are perfectly comfortable with little American girls being raped as long as illegal immigrants get the education that the progressives believe they have a right to.

    So now we can honestly say that not only do progressives support murdering unborn children, they now also support the rape of young American women. Really nice people we have living in this country

    • M. Noonan March 22, 2017 / 12:48 pm

      I have some questions about it:

      1. How does someone with no documentation become a student?
      2. Did these suspects have someone acting (or pretending to act) as a guardian?
      3. How was it decided which grade they should be in?
      4. How many undocumented students are in our public schools?
      5. What home address did they provide, if one was provided?
      6. Do we ask people presenting themselves for admittance who their parent or guardian is?

      I could go on and on – we’ve got a serious problem.

      • Cluster March 22, 2017 / 2:09 pm

        #1 is a great question. I know that American families can not enroll their children without birth certificates, sometimes SSN#’s, immunization records, proof of residency, etc.

        This country needs to start working for Americans again. And no one else.

      • Amazona March 25, 2017 / 2:08 pm

        I have a feeling Smith, the superintendent, really has the attitude that “Sexual assaults are “part and parcel of public education.” In other words, it’s just part of the deal. You can’t have Common Cause, condoms on bananas and classes full of counter-culture immigrants without the omnipresent risk of rape in the bathrooms…

      • M. Noonan March 25, 2017 / 2:56 pm

        Kinda what the Mayor of London said – terrorist attacks are part of Life in the Big City…assaults are just part of Life in the Public School.

        If I were a parent, there’s no way I’d incarcerate my child in a public school – it’d be Catholic school or home school.

    • Amazona March 23, 2017 / 12:11 pm

      If you wonder about the political leaning of this superintendent, just look at how he dragged in “…a 6-year-old, an 8-year-old, a 12-year-old, a 14-year-old, a 15-year-old…” to try to distract from the reality.

  4. Cluster March 22, 2017 / 2:20 pm

    Well, isn’t this interesting:

    Members of the intelligence community collected “incidental” communications of the Trump transition team during legal surveillance operations of foreign targets, a top Republican lawmaker said Wednesday afternoon……..Nunes said the surveillance collection was “legally collected foreign intelligence under FISA incidental collection.” But Nunes said he was “alarmed” the intelligence “ended up in reporting channels and was widely disseminated.”


    • simoneee9 March 22, 2017 / 9:32 pm

      Wow, so members of the transition team were communicating with targets of FISA warrants??!! Damn.

      Surely Nunes took that information back to the House Committee before running off to Trump, the subject of an investigation? Anything else might look like an obstruction of justice.

      Oh, looks like Schiff is pissed: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/schiff-russia-trump-collusion-236386

      • Cluster March 22, 2017 / 9:37 pm

        Well we know Flynn was tapped, unmasked, leaked and then illegally exposed by the media due to this very same FISA surveillance and now we learn that that surveillance was broader than previous known. So there’s that, but I am sure everything is on the up and up.

      • Amazona March 23, 2017 / 10:21 am

        Oooooh, looky looky! Simoneeeeeeek is all excited! He thinks that high ranking officials of foreign nations are only monitored if we have evidence they are doing something bad! And then, his pointy little nose firmly up the backside of that fantasy, he follows it to the conclusion (in his own feverswamp mind, of course) that this means something sinister if someone from Trump’s “transition team” talked to any of these people. Damn! He’s really onto something here!

        And then, giddy with the exhilaration of his conclusion, he decides to share his suspicions that Representative Nunes shared this information with Trump (“running off to Trump”) before sharing it with the House Committee. Simon’s little tinfoil hat is just swelling up, what with all the stuff going on in his head. sinister communications. obstruction of justice. oh me, oh my!

        So it is natural for him to look for someone as dedicated to discovering eeeevil deeds of the Right as he is. Who better to check in with than weasel Representative Schiff, to see what silly crap Schiff is trying to promote through insinuation, through Lefty mouthpiece Politico.

        The FBI is currently investigating any links between the Trump campaign and Russia and whether the two parties coordinated with Russia’s suspected cyberattacks on Democratic Party officials before the election.

        Yet only the rabid mouthbreathers on the Left, breathlessly trying to keep alive the false meme that Russia was involved in revealing DNC emails, continue to try to link Russia to the DNC. Note that Politico is only claiming there are “suspected” cyberattacks. Yet this sleazy effort to imply something without actually saying it has suckered poor sucker Simoneeeeeeeeek into thinking it means something.

        When pressed, Schiff can only try to do more of the same—imply wrongdoing without actually saying anything. “I don’t want to go into specifics, but I will say that there is evidence that is not circumstantial and is very much worthy of investigation, so that is what we ought to do,” Schiff said. “Don’t want to go into specifics” really means “can’t go into specifics because there aren’t any”.

        no public evidence has emerged to tie him or his associates directly to the cyberattacks. THERE WERE NO “CYBERATTACKS” ON THE DNC. At least none that resulted in anything being revealed. The leak was from someone within the DNC who provided copies of emails to an outside person. Physically provided. Handed over, in person. No cyberattack.

        This kind of slimy pseudojournalism only works on the mindless—therefore, it is presented by Simon as something that impressed him.

        The article pays feeble lip service to fact and integrity with its last sentence: no public evidence has emerged to tie him or his associates directly to the cyberattacks. and even then they have to insert the word “public”, never willing to let go of their dedication to smearing opponents by any means possible.

        Which makes them irresistible to Simon, who still won’t tell us why he even cares. Do you have standing as someone affected by United States politics, Simon? Do you have a dog in the hunt? Do you have a coherent political philosophy that leads you to your chosen career as a wannabe speed bump? Why do you care?

      • Retired Spook March 23, 2017 / 11:15 am

        The most logical reason Nunes went directly to Trump and the media is that he doesn’t trust Schiff and the other Democrat members of the Intelligence Committee. This may go nowhere, but it may also “unmask” some nefarious things going on behind the scenes instigated by Democrats.

    • M. Noonan March 22, 2017 / 11:36 pm

      Democrats are in full-blown panic mode over this – I like how senior Dem leaders tried to damp this down but the base (and kooks among Dems in Congress) simply would not let it die…now, it’s about to blow up in their faces. The only people likely to have corrupt dealings with Russia are Democrats.

      • Cluster March 23, 2017 / 9:06 am

        As they should be. Progressive Democrats at the core are dishonorable people, so exposing to the public what they actually do and believe, is not good for their electoral chances.

      • Amazona March 23, 2017 / 10:27 am

        They’ve got a tiger by the tail here. If they hang on, they might get eaten, but if they let go they basically admit it was all bogus from the get-go. Poor babies. They thought they were being so clever, throwing what was portrayed as raw red meat to the slavering mobs in the streets, and now they either have to admit to their sheeple that they made it all up or have those mobs drag them down when their “investigations” show nothing.

  5. Cluster March 23, 2017 / 9:03 am

    Last night, Tucker Carlson nailed the mindset of the cowardly left:

    Tucker Carlson: “London’s Muslim mayor said terror attacks are “part and parcel of living in a big city.” In other words, it’s just part of the deal. You can’t have opera, SoulCycle, and Sunday brunch without the omnipresent risk of being blown up in the name of Allah.”

    • Amazona March 23, 2017 / 10:29 am

      I wonder if the mayor ran on that platform. I hope all Lefty mayoral candidates in the US are this honest. It will help us clean up the city governments.

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