Sandy suggested that I write about “Americanism,” this being a direct result of the outlandish display of buffoonery that took place last week at the Kavanaugh hearings, as well as a general boorishness that has supplanted civil discourse.
But what is Americanism?
That phrase has been used as a pretext for patriotism, and like all “isms” seeks to create a sense of tribalism. It is “us vs. them,” and you are either on our side or you are not. More to the point, core philosophical principles are simply pretext for propaganda. The true core value of all “isms” unmoored by strong philosophical underpinnings is power.
One of the reasons that our Republic was able to survive in its nascent years was a belief system that transcended petty political jockeying. To be sure, there were entrenched battles between the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists, but these battles were set against the backdrop of a true belief of the core values of freedom and property.
Today the State has become so encompassing, such a dramatic influence on the lives of individuals, that party affiliation has become somewhat of an anachronism. The question for most is not what is the proper role of government; rather, it is should government be given greater funding for a particular “thing.” Those who argue that the government should not be involved in the “thing” in the fist place are considered rogue libertarians, radicals, or in a last resort, the all-too-used moniker of racist.
Last week, an article was published in the New York Times under the nom de guerre of “Anonymous.” Anonymous is, if he or she is to be believed, a senior administration official who has announced that he or she is “part of the resistance.” This resistance is made up of like-minded individuals who work in the administration who are putatively Republican, and are interested in a Republican vision, but consider Trump to be too unsteady, too pugnacious or, perhaps, too ill-tempered to advance a national agenda. (Evidently, the fact that he was elected serves little value for this group; they are smarter and, thus, in a better position to guide the country… sometimes at the disadvantage of Trump himself.)
The line that has received very little attention in the article, but stood out the most to me was Anonymous’s admonition that he or she is not part of the “Deep State” (Obama holdovers who are part of the civil service, evidently dedicated to the dismantling of the Trump agenda). Rather, he or she self-classified as part of the “Steady State.”
I must admit this was the first time I ever heard that phrase and, frankly, it sends chills down my spine. Yet “Steady State” is probably an excellent descriptive name.
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“Steady State” is the edifice of Statists, the architecture of Collectivists and, unfortunately, the philosophically bereft manifestation of modern “Americanism.” For Americanism is directly related to the State and its control over a willing and compliant polity.
Land of the free and the home of the brave.
What exactly does that mean?
We are free to practice whatever religion we choose? Well, yes… as long as the practices of that religion do not run contrary to the social decisions of the State. We are free to say whatever we want? Perhaps… as long as the State does not put pressure on academia and publishers (read Internet providers) to muzzle content. Free from unreasonable searches and seizures? Only in the most egregious of circumstances… and even then, the Fourth Amendment has suffered degradation almost from the point of ratification.
Well… what about free to keep and bear arms?
Please… we live here in California.
Freedom from the quartering of soldiers? Well, most of us would agree that this is not a common threat, but Cosmo makes a solid argument that the justification of quartering of soldiers was not a right sought after because the British were soiling the sheets and raiding the cupboards of the colonists. Rather, it was ratified to protect us from State intrusion into a person’s home. The quartered solider was an agent of the State and, as such, when quartered in a colonist’s home, prevented him or her from the privacy needed to… well… rebel against the State. Today we don’t need soldiers in homes… we have Alexa and the National Security Agency.
We are brave though. We are willing to overthrow the shackles of tyranny and stand up against an abusive government that is unresponsive to… aw, hell… forget it. I am just going to move to Arizona and tell California to stick it.
Yep… home of the brave.
So what then is the “Steady State”? The basic phrase speaks to the idea that government control is a necessity for an orderly society. Who benefits from the control will sway based on which party occupies the government seats of power during any particular time, but the government industrial complex… well, that will remain safe and secure.
Without the nameless bureaucrats who control the minutiae of our economic and social lives, how could we possibly survive as a country?
This country was founded on the idea of rugged individualism. A belief that the intellectual power of a single individual is sacrosanct, and has the same legitimacy as anyone else. Even if he were wrong, his passioned defense of his position made us all stronger for hearing his argument, and out of necessity responding to it. Yet, at the core was a belief that there needed to be limited government, for when government has the power over the individual, the growth of the individual is by necessity stifled.
Americanism? No… I think not. American Patriot? Yes. I like that much, much better. As an American Patriot, I hold dear the philosophical principles of our Founders. I believe that civil discourse is the only pathway to philosophical improvement and the development of common ground. I believe that a government granted limited powers to regulate the affairs of its citizens is, by definition, a small government and, thus, easily purged of tyrants and the inept. I believe that justice should not be dependent on the tired, lazy, or corrupt. (Cosmo… you know who I am talking about!)
I am an American Patriot. I am the defender of liberty as beautifully articulated in the Declaration of Independence and codified in the Constitution, protected by the blood of other American Patriots successfully for generations.
I am an American Patriot. I look with disdain on those who would sacrifice their freedom for security or comfort. For when that occurs, the freedom of those who disagree are jettisoned as well.