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View Diary: Republicans think they are the "religious party" (18 comments)

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  •  Indeed, they perceive the state, which they aim to (1+ / 0-)
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    Dave in Columbus

    control, as a secular moral force -- religion from which God has been removed and the law put in place as a substitute.
    The rule of law is doubly convenient because it is an impersonal rule -- the rule makers cannot be personally identified and held to account for their dicta. Moreover, the law has no enforcement powers and thus can be ignored with impunity.

    Justice Anthony Kennedy, a self-admitted Con, is a prime proponent of the rule of law. He goes around the country lecturing about it. At first, I was impressed to learn this and even transcribed the speech to the ABA in which he laid it out. It took a while for me to realize that the rule of law is the perfect cover for people who don't want to be responsible for what they do. It's following orders raised to an abstract level. GWB said he took his orders from his father in heaven. Secularists substitute the Constitution. Neither, of course, actually take orders, because they don't do; at most they pass the orders on. Republican politics are esoteric. The only sense in which they are hands-on, is in the pat on the back, the equivalent of the laying on of hands. Jesus did some of that when he healed the lepper. But, we need to remember that Jesus was a carpenter. Carpenters transform trees into useful things. I was reminded of that as I cut mortises into the legs of a bench the other day.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 02:05:13 AM PDT

    •  The rule of law is not the problem (2+ / 0-)
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      Pirogue, KateCrashes

      The basic problem in this country is precisely that the rule of law is limited to those of us below the law-making level.  The rich and powerful are exempted from the rule of law, essentially an aristocratic system.  Those who hold lower-case r republicanism to be a virtuerecognize the rule of law as the only restraint on the powerful possible where the state exists.  Lacking the rule of law, the powers of the state inescapably  become the playthings of the powerful.

      "You may very well think so, I could not possibly comment." ~ Francis Urquhart, pragmatic political philosopher

      by ActivistGuy on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 03:42:37 AM PDT

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      •  Restraint of the powerful (people who hurt) (0+ / 0-)

        lies in the much greater numbers of those who help. The people, ultimately, enforce the laws. The designation of citizenship as some sort of privilege, instead of a bundle of duties and obligations, is an effort to disguise the truth that power lies with the people governing.

        "You have the power," is what Howard Dean proclaimed and that's what clued the powers that be, both Republicans and Democrats, that he had to be stopped. In case you don't recall, it was Gebhardt's people that launched the dirty attacks comparing Dean to Osama bin Laden. It was the Missouri Mafia that sounded the alarm. Missouri, the state that gave us John Danfort and Clarence Thomas.

        We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

        by hannah on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 04:00:04 AM PDT

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        •  In a nation disciplined by the state (0+ / 0-)

          social control over the powerful can only be exercised by law.  Numbers do not matter, as the vast majority are thoroughly conditioned by the panoply of power to follow the lead of "their betters".  Which is exactly why the nation tolerates torturers walking scot-free, and our tax dollars used not to revive the economy but to guarantee that banksters not only were not held responsible for their actions, but were in fact rewarded with bonuses for them paid out through the public purse.

          I'm philosophically an anarchist, so I'm not thrilled with any of the forgoing, but I am sufficiently "pragmatic" to recognize the state, and the manner in which it is operated for the benefit of ruling classes (that the fact is, the state was invented and created in the first place not to "deliver services and prevent abuse," but to protect the persons, the possessions and the privileges of the powerful.)  Given these realities, as of yet the most secure system for the largest number under the rule of the state has been through the means of republicanism, which has among its primary axioms that those of all stations are subject to a single standard of a single body of law, what republicans (again lower case r) refer to as "equality before the law".  Granted this has been observed as much in its breech as in its application, but at least until the most recent times, it has been honored enough among its purported supporters that its glaring breeches have served to mobilize populations sufficiently  to its application.  Demand for application of this doctrine has been the driving intellectual force of every equal rights/civil rights movement.  

          Such republicanism is the only grounds for the likes of myself to resign ourselves to the existence of the state.  As increasingly the US (including apparently its "progressives") reject republicanism and the rule of law, I increasingly see no reason why I and the likes of me should uphold our end of this Faustian compromise either, and the appeal to simply smash the state gains vigor and honor.  I know I'm not the one that abandoned the compromise, but rather one left holding the bag of a social principle, the state, I never accepted as a virtue in and of itself in the first place.

          "You may very well think so, I could not possibly comment." ~ Francis Urquhart, pragmatic political philosopher

          by ActivistGuy on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 04:27:27 AM PDT

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          •  Even what humans invent is subject to change. (0+ / 0-)

            The state can evolve into a service organization.

            In the beginning, the nation state was just a larger example of segregation. Segregation is attractive to humans, perhaps because dividing things into parts makes them easier to control and control of the other is particularly attractive to individuals who find it impossible to manage themselves. (I envision the problem as akin to that of a spinning top, whose environment seems to be spinning around and which doesn't know it's about to stop spinning and fall over). Segregation involves exclusion and sentient creatures resent that. People don't like being shut out, however convenient they find doing it themselves. Mobile organisms resent being excluded because exclusion halts their forward progress. We value mobility even as we value segregation. We want to be on the move, even as our environment should stay in place. It's a basic contradiction, which arises from two traits characteristic of humans: mobility and memory. Mobility says "move." Memory says "stay put."

            How can this conflict be resolved? By taking turns. However, that's easier said than done because taking turns requires a sense of time and a sense of order and a sense of place -- all of which, it seems, a goodly number of people are missing. The sense of time, in particular, seems to be lacking in many people, probably because it is not essential and, indeed, fairly easily compensated, as witness the centrality of the church bell tower, the factory whistle, and the call to prayers six times a day by the mullahs. The sense of time and order and sequence may actually be able to be instilled, as evidenced by the game of baseball, for example.

            We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

            by hannah on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 05:07:47 AM PDT

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