Thursday, May 16, 2013
That wasn't meant as an admonishment to our liberal friends who follow us on Twitter (and whom most likely pay no never mind to our politically-themed tweets) rather an invitation to discuss just what the unfolding scandals represent in the broader context of things. And to provide, perhaps a counter-balance to that if it was taken as an admonishment, we offered up this:
We used "Ruling Class/Political Class" in the context of Angelo Codevilla's phenomenal essay from the American Spectator, "America's Ruling Class - And the Perils of Revolution" written nearly 3 years ago. (It's a lengthy piece but you would be doing yourself a huge favor to take the 20-30 minutes to read it)
To look at what has been happening in Washington through a partisan prism would be a big mistake and would be missing the larger point of assessing the role of government and how and in what manner its power is wielded.
Put simply, the scandals of the IRS, the Justice Department secretly obtaining Associated Press phone records and Pigford, are all symptomatic of a federal government that has become so large and intrusive that the inevitable result is contempt and corruption.
Attorney General Eric Holder's testimony yesterday before Congress provided excellent examples of this. When asked about how many or how often his department seized the phone records of media outlets, he claimed he couldn't quantify a number... he could not even ballpark it. He gave every impression that seizure of private records was standard operating procedure at the Justice Department.
We won't apologize for saying this exchange did not cover our constitutional republic in glory.
And when pressed for details specific to the Associated Press case, he claimed he recused himself from that case so he knew nothing of the details. He recused himself but couldn't recall specifically when he did and he did not recuse himself in writing and further, never informed his boss in the White House that he had recused himself. For an operation as serious in nature as it relates to the 1st amendment, civil liberties and privacy concerns, there is no record of him recusing himself other than him verbally telling his deputy that he had done so. (And it turns out the justification for these phone record seizures as being a matter of national security may be bogus). Unreal.
We use Holder as an example because he has been a favorite whipping boy of ours over the years as he personifies the complete contempt and quite possible corruption for which he has never been held accountable.
Accountability. A leviathan the size of our federal government will quickly lose accountability as that size becomes structured in a byzantine maze of agencies, bureaus and departments. To date, only one person has been axed as a result of the IRS debacle and that person, the head of the agency was going to be stepping down in June, anyway. The two "low level" employees in Cinncinnati whom we were told were responsible for the effective harassment of conservative groups have been "disciplined", or so we've been told. End of story, correct?
In reality, these abuses have been going on for years with the knowledge of senior IRS officials who did nothing to stop it. That hastily arranged presser last Friday was pure kabuki theater designed to get out ahead of and play damage control in front of the Inspector's General report that was to drop shortly thereafter on Friday. Even the IG report blandly labeled the wrongdoing as "mismanagement" when all indications point to the politicization of the tax-exempt application process.
Tea party and other conservative groups simply gave up in the light of overburdening and outrageous lines of questioning or for fears they might perjure themselves for not knowing the nature of any of their future activities as had been asked of some of the groups as part of the application process. And it only took 3 or 4 years of banging on their dinner plates to see any action taken on this. No accountability so the harassment and intimidation was allowed to continue, again, with the full knowledge of higher-ups within the IRS.
As Marco Rubio pointed out the other day, these are the sort of things you see in the 3rd world or failed state republics. This sort of stuff should not be happening here. But this is where we are because of our fool's errand of replacing a healthy skepticism of government and a desire to limit its power to a mindset that the government's good intentions as advertised by our betters in the Ruling Class justified an ever-increasing expansion of government powers... and as our Founders knew, we also know what is paved with good intentions.
These abuses, harassments, intimidations and lack of accountability are simply part and parcel to a government that grows so large, it simply gets drunk on its own power and starts running amok and trampling its original and intended charter.
* That quote in the image is from our President a couple weeks back at the graduation ceremony at the Ohio State University.
We forgot where we read it first but someone claimed that these scandals have all been making a better case for conservatism than all our leading conservative thinkers as we have seen the practical application rather than the theoretical and rhetorical.