Tuesday, November 02, 2010

My election day rant

hubris, noun
1. pride or arrogance
2. (in Greek tragedy) an excess of ambition, pride, etc, ultimately causing the transgressor's ruin
Back before I started paying attention to what was going on in this country, I thought of NPR as “smart people’s radio.” And since I was an occasional listener, I flattered myself with the belief that I was one of those smart people.
After all, I have a Mensa-grade I.Q. and set the record for SAT scores at my high school. That makes me pretty smart, doesn’t it?
Well, actually, no. And dwelling on it too much can lead one to start thinking he’s the smartest guy in the room. That’s not too bad until you start acting like you believe it. There are few things more embarrassing than a twit who wants you to know he’s the smartest guy in the room. (A certain president comes to mind.)
Once you start believing you’re a really smart person, the next step is wanting to help or guide (the German word for guide is Fuhrer) those poor bastards who aren’t as bright as you. After all, you’re smarter than them and that means you have a divine right, no make that divine obligation, to make their lives better.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to help people. It’s what Christian charity is all about. It’s when you notice that people have an annoying habit of making “bad” choices that the temptation comes to take the next step and move to control them. Enter hubris.
Our Founding Fathers understood the “control” thing, albeit from a different angle. The control they saw was a product of the feudal system and imposed by royalty. They only gave a Constitutional nod to the “do-gooder” form of control by barring the establishment of a state religion.
They probably never foresaw the rise of intellectual tyranny in the form of socialism, progressivism, communism, or any of its other names. But in their genius, they gave us a Constitution that is anathema to those who want to control us for our own good.
Generations of arrogant twits have promoted the idea that the framers of the Constitution were prisoners of their era and that the Constitution is flawed and irrelevant to today’s issues. One of them sits in the Oval Office today.
Chief among their arguments is Franklin Roosevelt’s idea that the Commerce Clause (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3) which gives Congress the right to regulate interstate commerce can be interpreted to mean Congress can control everything remotely connected with interstate commerce. This, of course, flies in the face of the 10th Amendment which says powers not given to the federal government by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively or to the people.
I think the Constitution is a work of transcendent genius and is as relevant today as when it was written. It gives Americans the opportunity to achieve and improve their lot and does not endorse the creation of a permanent underclass dependent upon the government for everything from food to shelter to healthcare to cell phones. It gives people the freedom to make their own decisions – to get rich or to fuck up.
And make no mistake, as surely as there are gifted ambitious people, there will always be stupid fuck-ups and no amount of socialist Utopian social engineering will ever change that. It will only drag down the creative, driven people.
This disqualifies me, in the view of a lot of folks, from being one of the “smart people.”
I’m okay with that.
Happily, I have a lot of company in my beliefs and we’re all going to the polls to try to rescue our country from the arrogant twits who are hell bent on controlling us for our own good.

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