Saturday, December 11, 2010

Populist John Brummett?

Unaccountable Power is not good. Even John Brummett seems to be getting that idea.
Is John Brummett going populist on us? The antics of lottery director Ernie P. seem to be driving him to it on at least the issue of popular accountability.

On a side note, it appears columnist Mike Masterson has won the Citscapes "Best Newspaper Reporter/Columnist" award. That was by popular vote of the readers. Funny how when lefty newsfolk get together and vote themselves an award, it goes to guys like Brummett. When the actual readers, the consumers of the news, get a vote, it goes to guys like Mike Masterson.

Hey, if John Brummett is seeing the light, then I say hallelujah, come on in brother! I would not want to hinder anyone who is willing to drop false premises and embrace truth. The premise here is whether virtuous people can be their own masters or whether a small ruling elite is needed to wield the real power. Jefferson and Hamilton had this argument back in the time of the Founders and it continues today.

Brummett has, until recently, been the willing tool of those who favor rule by a small group of elites. In fact, his major function has been to marginalize, demonize even, figures who pose a challenge to the would-be elites of this state. My position is ultimately closer to Jefferson than Hamilton. If the people have virtue and good information they are most capable of being their own masters. My fear is that we are both losing the virtue needed for self-government and losing access to the information needed for self government.

An immoral people may need a ruling class, but the ruling class itself will over time be corrupted by too much unchecked power. Lawless people would use freedom to destroy themselves and others. For a while they may be better off under tyranny, but ultimately tyranny is not better for anyone, even the tyrants! I use tyranny here to mean not necessarily a single ruler, but rather concentrated power over others that has few outside restraints.

That's a long digression, but bringing it around, I wonder if the true source of Brummett's disgust is that Ernie P. won't answer questions from the press. In other words, this outsider is acting like he's a part of the ruling circle even above Brummett who imagines himself as part of that same circle. Even if that's the case, its progress. I agree with his dismay over the "unaccountable kingdoms" set up in Arkansas government and in the nation.

To me the biggest example of that is the judiciary. The issue rulings which sometimes make little sense, but no "journalist" even tries to pin them down with the hard questions. If they tried, I suspect the judges would mostly act like Ernie P. This is a glaring hole in public accountability. Judges have assumed power for themselves over the two other branches of government, yet reporters who will mercilessly grill people in the legislature won't even question even the most blatantly extra-constitutional decisions of the bench.


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