Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Walrus and Mr. Clinton

Originally published at American Thinker on April 20, 2010.

There is a special type of idiocy that finds its hiding right out in the open. It's the smartest type of idiocy in existence. For the most part, it's not even recognized for what it is due to its being smuggled into ire-filled diatribes; blasted over by booming sentiments of passion and accepted as intelligent on the basis of its author's authoritative and spirited style. This breed of idiocy is particularly dangerous because its often demonstrated by those we are apt to trust; the news media, for instance, or former presidents. My first recent witness to such an account occurred two weeks ago while watching MSNBC.

I'm sure by this time we are all familiar with Chris Matthews' Walrus comment, but I'd like to briefly recite the statement in an effort to offer a more telling examination and as a favor to those who were so much drawn into his caustic rant that they may have missed the smart idiocy of it all. Matthews, as if in the throes of a fiery sermon, offered to a guest:
I`ve never seen language like this in the American press, referring to an elected representative government, elected in a totally fair, democratic, American election... And this guy, this walrus underwater, makes fun of this administration, calling it a "regime."

Okay. Lots to look at here.

Forget for a moment that it has been shown that language like this has previously been used in the American press (including - oh, jeez! - by Matthews himself). Forget for a moment that, negative connotation aside, the term "regime" is synonymous with the term "administration." And please pay no attention to the idea that Mr. Matthews believes that authority, democratically originated, is sole evidence of its absolute legitimacy.

Wait... What was that last part?

The focus of most all of the surrounding popular criticism has been sadly donated to Matthews' hypocrisy and to the shock value of his Limbaugh-directed ad hominem, where it should have been on Matthews' totally flawed notion of tyranny. My good friends! Ask yourselves, "Which is more important for the security of the freedom of a people: that they fairly elect their leaders or that their fairly elected leaders follow a set of rules that determine the borders of their governance?"

Matthews is not alone in his confusion. His sentiments were echoed on Friday by Former President Bill Clinton; a Rhodes Scholar. Clinton claims that the current tea parties are somehow less genuine than the Boston original because the colonials were protesting taxation without representation and the current dissidents are rallying in opposition to taxation from elected officials who must account for their actions at the end of their terms.

Here, Mr. Clinton partially mistakes both the subject of the tea party movement's opposition and the mechanism by which power becomes arbitrary. Is taxation the important mutual concern between eighteenth and twenty-first century tea party attendants?

Or is the issue representation?

If the consent of the governed is shed - even if for a potentially short period - or ideas are made law through means of some unenumerated or irresolute charter, does it make a difference somehow if a leader is appointed courtesy of a democratic election or if his authority is qualified by the divine right of kings?

As Americans, we should take great pride in our democratic procedure, however infinitely more gratification should be derived from the presence of our constitution and our obedience to it. After all, what achievement is it if a people freely select who is to run them and not how they are to be run? And what great glory can a nation claim if the architects of its cultural and political society are permitted to pervert its greatest victory by misclassifying its greatest threat?

A threat which is continually misapprehended by the agents of the public should not be doubted to be among the public's most dangerous.

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