Freedom is never free.....

"It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds."-Samuel Adams

Political Frivolity (maybe)


Monday, August 3, 2009

Marx and Madison

"It has been said that all Government is an evil. It would be more proper to say that the necessity of any Government is a misfortune. This necessity however exists; and the problem to be solved is, not what form of Government is perfect, but which of the forms is least imperfect."
-James Madison, to an unidentified correspondent, 1833

As I awoke this morning to the cacophony of morning birds and the song of the coyote, I couldn’t help but think that this would be a great day. My memory still fresh from sitting on a dock, fishing pole in hand, sun rising above the trees, all worries and cares worlds away, thinking this is what heaven must be like.

In my heaven, there is no pain, suffering, anxiety, or politicians. I won’t have to awake every day searching for what it good and great, for all of that will be left behind for my children and their children, and all children to ponder and question.
The next generations will have the burden and responsibility to restore the eroding freedoms we only took for granted, that, incrementally are being stolen one at a time. We were warned, in no uncertain terms, that this could happen.

The great ones who designed our system of government knew the great potential for corruption and greed, understood that the human condition was inherently flawed, and, as a result of this understanding, inserted checks and balances within the Constitution. As Mr. Madison so eloquently expressed in the above quote, there is no perfect system of government. The founders were cynics by necessity.

Karl Marx once said “Democracy is the road to socialism.” In his mind, he had the “perfect’ system of fairness, where all prospered and no one lived in despair, wanting for any of the staples of life. He too, was cynical, kind of like Madison but twisted inside out and sideways. Marx’s and Madison's philosophies were as divergent as night and day, yet, in a perverse way, had the same concern and a similar starting point.

Both men knew the weaknesses and failings of a monarchy or a theocracy. Within a theocracy, the Pope dictated public doctrine under the guise of religious faith, and as a result controlled money and property. Ditto for a monarchy, but instead of a religious figurehead a family with endless “lineage” and “pure bloodlines” oppressed all but the aristocracy. Marx called the ruling class the “Bourgeois”, as Madison referred to King George as a “Tyrant”. How could two men with such similar observations go off in two diametrically opposed directions?

"Political economy came into being as a natural result of the expansion of trade, and with its appearance elementary, unscientific huckstering was replaced by a developed system of licensed fraud, an entire science of enrichment.”-Karl Marx

Marx saw a market economy as class divisible, a component which would be unacceptable in his utopian society where everyone is “equal”. A society that was self-contained and self-sufficient required very little trade, and any goods or service that required import or export would be handled by the “state”.

“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his needs”-Marx

The private ownership of property in a utopian society would be illegal. The “state”, in essence, would own the land and its physical contents in its entirety.

The one thing Marx didn’t think about was the human spirit. He didn’t give much thought to the fact that humans are programmed to be born, live, and die free. The human spirit demands excellence and choice. We live each day to be a little better than the one before. Marx could not have understood this. Utopia sounds great on paper, but once you work real, breathing human beings into the equation.....well................

“The theory of Communism may be summed up in one sentence: Abolish all private property”-Marx

This is where the political philosophies went in opposite directions. Whereas history shows Madison to be suspicious of a market economy, he did indeed support capitalism, but with some government oversight. Not a bad idea, as Anti-Trust laws will attest. Private ownership of property was, indeed, a sore point for Mr. Madison. English history was awash in serfs and feudal lords and the The Church of England and everybody owning land and property except for the masses.

“As a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights.”-Madison

“The personal right to acquire property, which is a natural right, gives to property, when acquired, a right to protection, as a social right.”-Madison

So, at the end of the day we have two, nearly identical opinions about the status quo, both of which take off in completely opposing directions. One system has never worked in any country, at any time in history. The other, 230 years later, still thrives amid corruption, back slapping, eye-winking, payoffs, kickbacks, communists, socialists, mother stabbers and father rapers, the system lives. Madison and his friends knew this would happen and that, inherently, politicians crave power like drunks crave alcohol. They knew all of this and had enough foresight to make the system cumbersome, complicated, and flexible enough to evolve with civilization, and maintain the integrity of the U.S Constitution. The reason the system still works may not be pure or righteous, but congressmen and women are there to be reelected. You will always have the Far Left, who are really Communists at heart, and the Far Wacko Right who fancy themselves the moral force and compass for all of us. But the majorities of our leaders are somewhere right of the left and left of the right, and really just want to be reelected. In politics, stalemate beats checkmate.

I really have digressed. I started writing about sitting on the dock, fishin’, knockin’ back a cold one, dreamin’.......

Well I'm goin' down to the river
I've got a cane pole in my hand
I've got my redworms in a Maxwell house coffee
I'm gonna sit under a shade tree on a riverbank where it's cool
I'm gonna close my eyes and dream and let the cork bob away my blues...

-The Marshall Tucker Band

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