Home > Uncategorized > Thoughts on the Project

Thoughts on the Project

January 23rd, 2006

The Washington Post is carrying an op-ed today taking aim at Condi Rice’s slow transformation from a realist to a, ostensibly, a neo-conservative. The particulars of the opinion are not the subject of this post (though certainly interesting). What I found insightful is this comment from Mr. Fukuyama, author of the The End of History.

Here’s what the op-ed had to say about him

Fukuyama certainly believes in spreading U.S. values, but he has emerged as a critic of the Iraq war because he believes its ambitions were unrealizable. The United States lacks the instruments to transform other societies, Fukuyama argues; to build nations you must first build institutions, and nobody knows how to do that.

I find the last bit to be of most interest. Nobody knows how to build institutions.

I think that is right on the money. As I read the papers and interact with some of the brightest minds of my generation, I have been slowly convinced that we could not setup something as enduring as the United States government in today’s environment. Oh, sure, we could probably draft something akin to the Constitution today, complete with checks and balances, separation of powers, federalism, the whole bit. But I think we lack the appropriate world perspective to put those principles into practice.

In America it is easy to just ride the coattails of the former generation; our institutions are already built, we just have to make sure they don’t fall down. Yet, they seem to be falling down all around us. Today a good friend of mine posted the beginnings of a brief on how the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is undermining the Full Faith & Credit Clause, a bedrock principles of the U.S. Constitution. In the United States Senate the amendment to exempt flag burning from the 1st Amendment failed by ONE vote. If Sen. Cantwell loses this year, you can expect a new vote next year and a hasty ratification process across the states.

What about aristocracy? The States have often stood against such transfers of wealth, believing it creates inefficient societies and concentrates too much wealth. But come 2009 the Estate Tax, our government’s best tool against formation of perpetual aristocracy, will be completely repealed.

So I ask myself, why. At first glance it appears as though special interest groups are prepared to put their interests above the collective interests. But that can’t be the only factor. Such behavior has always existed. Which leaves me with only one other idea… that electoral politics has changed in such a way that winning is more important than governing. Whatever promise, whatever resolution, whatever official act must be done to ensure reelection takes precedence over proper governance. Want to beat the evil liberals? Secure votes by tearing down institutions long since held as sacrosanct in this country (like Social Security, the Estate Tax, and Freedom of Expression) and you’ll get votes. Better yet, allow massive corruption and interminably intertwined lobbying connections into your own caucus to ensure party members follow the line.

The end times may not yet be upon us, but when they are, I’m fairly certain that the slide into final dissent will look very similar to our current situation.

probonogeek Uncategorized

  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.