Monday, December 21, 2009

A Copenhagen Postmortem

If one ever wondered what it might have been like to be a well-read, rational, outspoken, and angry Roman before the barbarian hordes rode in to sack the city, perhaps living in the present would come closest to the trepidation.

Few of your countrymen assemble with you in the Temple of Minerva, goddess of wisdom, to discuss how best to throw back the approaching barbarians and to persuade an oblivious and indifferent Senate to stop its costly, spendthrift and foolish policy of bread and circuses for the populace. The Senate is deaf to wisdom, divided as it is into two camps: those who conduct pray-ins and make offerings to Jupiter, king of the gods, and who claim that Rome is in peril because the people have abandoned him and lost faith in him; and those who worship at the Temple of Ceres, goddess of the earth, whom they claim has told them that bountiful harvests can be had year-round by seeding the soil with confiscated salt. They assure themselves and an anxious populace that this way everyone can be fed and the barbarians bought off with endless cartloads of consumables.

America -- and by implication, Western civilization -- is the object of assault by three of its chief enemies, two of them alien to its shores, and one domestic: the Islamic jihad, European and international malice, and an administration and Congress determined to eradicate freedom. All three are bent on the conquest of this country. America is not to be hunted, caught and dismembered by anything as fierce as a lion or tiger -- or even by a barbarian. Rather, all three of its enemies resemble snarling jackals and hyenas vying for possession of the cadaver.

If an animal fable does not succeed in conjuring up an image of the scenario, imagine it in terms of Vlad the Impaler’s blood-drenched contest with the butchering Ottomans over who would rule the peasants.

In Copenhagen, the apparent enmity between prospective looters was such that they could not agree on how to “fairly” divide the carcass, even though the carcass’s representatives were there to surrender it. Instead of a binding “communiqué,” the conference produced a “note” or an “accord.” A Daily Telegraph article describes the degrading contest between the looters and the to-be-looted over drafts of the document:

There was one called "Outline." Then there was a version called "Copenhagen Accord" with major changes. Then another, with a note saying "Take 2" on it, then another with the same title. Some were handwritten.

Key demands of the environmentalists were off the table. Then they were back on again. And then finally, as the day, for some delegates, entered its 35th hour, there was what President Barack Obama's spokesman called a "meaningful deal".

The deal contained almost nothing that environmentalists had hoped for and did not even meet the modest goals that world leaders set themselves at the beginning of the fortnight. Before the summit started, they had already abandoned their original hope of a legally-binding treaty at Copenhagen.


In the end, the only substantial thing the looters got for their pains was a $100 billion commitment from the U.S. to help “developing” (read perpetually, never-to be-"developed" poor) nations control their greenhouse gas emissions, first announced by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and then by Obama, who had to leave the conference early because the winter in Copenhagen was so severe. Appropriately, he flew straight into a blizzard that ground Washington D.C. to a halt. Blame it on “global-warming” and the two-degree Celsius rise in temperatures. That is also the non-binding limit pledged by “developed” nations.

Liberal columnist Janet Daley in the Daily Telegraph “sort of “ gets Lord Christopher Monckton’s point about a Copenhagen climate treaty serving as the establishment of a world government (read United Nations) that trumps national sovereignty. She agrees that such a treaty requires the surrender of national sovereignty. But she won’t let go of the necessity to “do something” about “climate change,” so she wanders around in a fog of imponderables exuded by unexamined fallacies and premises, and wonders what’s next. She writes:

Except in the United States, where it became a very contentious talking point, the US still holding firmly to the 18th-century idea that power should lie with the will of the people.

The mere utterance of it was assumed to sweep away any consideration of what was once assumed to be the most basic principle of modern democracy: that elected national governments are responsible to their own people – that the right to govern derives from the consent of the electorate.


Of course. But consent is not in his lexicon. President Barack Obama doesn’t believe in the “will of the people,” but in the triumph of his own “will.” He will concede the “will of the people” only if it reflects a tolerance by the people for being indentured servants of the state to serve collectivist ends. Then it would be in concurrence with his own “will.”

This is also the policy adhered to by the Democrats in Congress. Never mind the will of the people, so massively demonstrated this year in Washington and in all the major cities: the people shall have government-mandated health insurance, whether or not they want it. Besides, constitutional scholars, such as Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, say that Congress can act to preserve and promote the “health” and “well-being” of Americans, because she and other delusional Congressional interpreters of the Constitution can read the invisible ink in the document. She is of the “elect,” and has that special sight not shared by the peasants.

Another major contributing problem is the idea of “democracy.” Some of the brightest critics of the American political system employ this term haphazardly and loosely. Democracy means: mob or majority rule. It is not synonymous with republic, which is what the Founders created to promote liberty and restrain government power. They recognized the principle of individual rights to life and property, to freedom of speech, and the right to defend those rights against violators foreign and domestic, with arms, if necessary.

The only principle recognized in mob rule is that there are no principles to uphold, defend or preserve. If the majority develops a dislike for “excessive incomes,” or smoking, or obesity or “global warming,” or whatever other bugbear some rabble-rousing fraudster or demagogue manages to work the people into a lather about, then the name of democracy is invoked and legislative action can be taken. Too often, however, the “majority” is fictive and represented by noisy, hired mobs or by big-budget lobbies on a campaign to punish the objects of their hatred in the name of humanitarianism.

Central and South American and African delegates to the Copenhagen conference, speaking as poor losers for their slave-driving dictator bosses, dismissed the whole affair and its non-binding "accord” as “undemocratic.”

On the anti-climatic climate conference, Daley notes that:

Nor was much consideration given to the logical conclusion of all this grandiose talk of global consensus as unquestionably desirable: if there was no popular choice about approving supranational "legally binding agreements", what would happen to dissenters who did not accept their premises (on climate change, for example) when there was no possibility of fleeing to another country in protest? Was this to be regarded as the emergence of world government? And would it have powers of policing and enforcement that would supersede the authority of elected national governments? In effect, this was the infamous "democratic deficit" of the European Union elevated on to a planetary scale. And if the EU model is anything to go by, then the agencies of global authority will involve vast tracts of power being handed to unelected officials. Forget the relatively petty irritations of Euro-bureaucracy: welcome to the era of Earth-bureaucracy, when there will be literally nowhere to run.


Nowhere to run -- except into the custody of the Green Gestapo.

The option of simply “going Galt” is looking more and more attractive as a means of withdrawing one’s consent. Either that, or a genuine revolt or revolution -- not just against a vulpine Congress and carnivorous international looters, but against the whole notion of “democracy” in the name of reason and individual rights.

It would be ironic, in contrast to the Southern states seceding from the Union in the name of a state’s right to countenance slavery, if America seceded from the United Nations and a world government in the name of freedom and in the cause of abolishing it. And saw removed from office every conniving, corrupt, oath-violating politician, and replaced them all with individuals who valued freedom and acted to defend and uphold life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness.

In 2010, no matter what Congress and Obama do or fail to do to subject this nation to their “will,” Americans will be thronging again inside and outside the Temple of Minerva, as they did in 2009. They will be exercising their rights to freedom of assembly and to freedom of speech.

Nothing can stop them except the totalitarians in our midst and beyond our borders. Nothing can stop them except the initiation of force by our government, and the collectivists in the current administration are just itching to act. If armed goons and thugs break up these new “town halls” and arrest or punish their organizers, we can only hope that perhaps Americans will get the point better than did Janet Daley. Or Obama, or Harry Reid, or Nancy Pelosi.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks Ed, we desperately need the inspiration of your words in a time when we have cowards that we are trusting to defend us while ardent collectivists who are running roughshod over the sheeple are attacking us. If we are to preserve our liberties we need the new Patrick Henrys such as yourself to sound the rally cry. They are not to be found in our political arena.

Harold said...

"If an animal fable does not succeed in conjuring up an image of the scenario, imagine it in terms of Vlad the Impaler’s blood-drenched contest with the butchering Ottomans over who would rule the peasants."

Oh my god...

pomponazzi said...

A few months back I requested you to write an article on the difference between a democracy and a republic. You said you would eventually.

I think it would be a good idea to start 2010 with just such an article. Thank you

Ed said...

Poponazzi: I was thinking just that as I composed this commentary. A piece on the differences between a democracy and a republic will be one of next years first articles.

Ed

pomponazzi said...

Thank you, great Ed!!

thomas-ott said...

Edward,
I love your political analysis, great job; unsurpassed and nowhere else to find !

I have read all of your novels as well, most of all I enjoyed your Sparrowhawk book series.

(Reading your article I just wondered how it would be to read a novel from you set in ancient Rome or Greece)

Good premises for 2010, be it a productive year for you !

Best regards
TOM

Anonymous said...

in a metaphorically Roman mood? two words: bread, circuses.
& a Merry Christmas to all...

zardoz said...

Eagerly awaiting the blog post on republic vs democracy!