If there are two concepts that are diametrically opposed, they are the idea of individual liberty and that of “noble birth.” And yet the idea of “noble birth,” meaning that your stature in society comes from who your parents were rather than any achievement of your own, persists in much of the world today. In some places they are harmless figureheads; but in the United States, we’re growing dangerously close to spawning our own nobility, some of whom are handed elected offices like feudal titles.
Recently we saw the United Kingdom officially coronate another member of the Windsor family (a German family, mind you, which originally sprang from the Saxe-Coburg and Gotha dynasty). King Charles III will now serve as head of state and will receive massive sums of money from the British taxpayers simply because of who his mother was.
Don’t get me wrong; Elizabeth II was a leader to be respected if you can overlook how she came to wield that power. Her son? Not so much. He’s a leftist radical, a big government “Green” who whines about carbon emissions while his personal carbon footprint is probably bigger than Ghana, Iceland and Ecuador, combined. But King he is and King he will be for life, simply by accident of birth.
Here in the United States, we live in a country where we are told as children that anyone can one day rise to be elected President (and after the last few election cycles, I believe it!) but whatever shenanigans may happen during the voting, we still have a President – our head of state – who is elected, not born to the job. The intent of the Founders was to have citizens in elected office, and that they would serve, not rule. What they overlooked was putting in place a mechanism to ensure that they would not spend their whole lives in elected office; that, in effect, the role of public servant would be a term, not a career.
But look at what’s happening here, in the United States, where we now have a long-term political class. We are coming dangerously close to a hereditary elite, and in some cases, they may as well be Hapsburgs. And where did that start? With the idea that politics could be a career.
One argument against term limits is that we would be “…turning experienced legislators out of office and replacing them with inexperienced ones.” Well, sure. That’s the point; to my reckoning, they can do less damage that way. And were the Federal government maintained within the limits of the Constitution, they wouldn’t have nearly as much to do. But term limits would require an amendment to the Constitution, and honestly, that’s probably not going to happen.
That leaves it up to the voters, and most of them, frankly, just aren’t paying attention. As evidence of that I offer our current Weekend at Bernie’s Presidency. Joe Biden is perhaps the best example alive today for why politics should not be a career. Like Ted Kennedy and dozens of others I could name, he is a poster child for term limits. Joe Biden was never very smart, he always was dishonest and corrupt, and now he’s in the throes of dementia; but he has managed to spin a fifty-year career out of the American taxpayers and his entire family has grown monstrously rich through shady doings (feel free to read that as ‘influence-peddling’) during that entire time.
And why is influence-peddling a problem? Because the Imperial government has grown so bloated, so intrusive, so far beyond the bounds of supposed constitutional limits, that there is a vast amount of influence to peddle. Ayn Rand called it the “aristocracy of pull,” and it’s just as damaging as the aristocracy of birth.
So here we are.
Were you looking for a solution? I’m not sure I have one, other than returning the national government to within its constitutional limits, which I would be amazed beyond words to see happening. Indeed, I expect the opposite to continue. It is in the nature of government to grow ever bigger and more intrusive, and as it does so it increasingly attracts exactly the kind of people who belong nowhere near the levers of power. It would be nice if the voters were better informed, more involved, and more inclined to throw the bums out, but that sure isn’t the case. Not yet, at any rate.
In the United Kingdom, Charles III sits on the throne, wagging his finger at us about climate change while living a life of supreme luxury and wealth. In the United States, President Biden sits at the Resolute Desk, wagging his finger at us about climate change – oh, and our guns – while wondering if it is time for his afternoon pudding cup yet.
If there are two concepts that are diametrically opposed, they are the concepts of individual liberty and the idea of “noble birth.” And yet today, now, in the United States, a republic that was once the shining city on a hill, an example to all other nations on the planet, we’re slipping back into having a permanent ruling class – a nobility. This is thanks in large part to the ever-increasing power seized, unconstitutionally, by pols and bureaucrats in the Imperial City. And that’s anathema to everything our republic is supposed to be.
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