Sunday, October 03, 2010

The Two Natural Parties of Man


“Men by their constitutions are naturally divided into two parties: 1. Those who fear and distrust the people, and wish to draw all powers from them into the hands of the higher classes. 2. Those who identify themselves with the people, have confidence in them, cherish and consider them as the most honest and safe, although not the most wise, depository of the public interests. In every country these two parties exist, and in every one where they are free to think, speak, and write, they will declare themselves. Call them, therefore, ...Whigs and Tories, Republicans and Federalists, Aristocrats and Democrats, or by whatever name you please, they are the same parties still, and pursue the same object.” – Thomas Jefferson

There is little doubt that Jefferson is right about the divisions of men into political parties. Jefferson was one who believed that if people were well informed, they could rule themselves. Hamilton thought they could not be counted on to keep themselves well informed, and would not rule wisely even if they were. So who was right?

I say at different times and in different circumstances, they both were. Republican government is not possible without virtue. We are entering a time in which the average person does not posses the virtue required for self government. They would use access to the public treasury to loot it for themselves and their friends. Their personal lives are a wreck, the idea of them ruling the nation is beyond the pale. They know, and care to know, next to nothing of economics or geopolitics, but are well acquainted with which pop tart just got out of rehab. They are not the “well informed” populace that Jefferson envisioned. They may think they are informed because they get spoon-fed a steady diet of mis-information and distraction from media controlled by global corporations who have no interest in keeping Americans truly well informed, but thinking one is well informed when they are not is worse than regular ignorance.

On the other hand, power corrupts, and the ruling class have had practical power for a long time. They are deeply corrupt, and irredeemable in a way that ruling elites before them have rarely experienced. Once our ruling elites shared a world view that even the lives of peasants was sacred because they were created in the image of God. Ever since Darwinsim came along, a new and diabolical mind set has taken over as the world view of the ruling class. They now can believe that there is nothing sacred about human life, and that a soft conscience toward the lower classes, far from being a sign of godliness, is instead a sign of weakness. That conscience is just an artifact left over from some earlier stage of evolution that is holding man back from his next “great leap forward.” Think of what madness people who think like that could (and I believe are) unleashing on the world.

When the lower classes are corrupted, they may be better off for a short while with a ruling class. But the ruling class itself will not be better off with this situation for very long, for power corrupts. Too much power held in too few hands for too long a time will corrupt even the best among us. The only king to be beyond the corrupting influence of this sort of power was Christ, and He refused it in favor of a kingdom based on the free will submission of its subjects rather than a worldly kingdom which used compulsion to enforce its edicts.

The only sure antidote to the corrupting influence of power over others is its dispersal. That is why I, along with the greater part of the Founders, favor a central government that is extremely limited in scope and in reach. Let the state governments have authority in more spheres, and the local governments have authority in yet more. But let none of them have overmuch control. Rather, let those men and women who have demonstrated their capacity for self-rule have great latitude in their actions. And fashion laws so that those who lack capacity for self-government might attach themselves to someone of means in the former group as a servant.

It may be that after spending some years in the service of those who understand the attitudes, values, and disciplines required to rule one’s self, that the servants will one day become masters. But even if they never do, they are much better off with their own choice of patriarch than with the state’s choice of case worker. They are better off living on the estate of a great man than living in a project with no view of life on the other side and no means to get there.

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