This just in from the always-worth-reading Dr. Victor Davis Hanson - 2013: Welcome to the Very, Very Scary Times. Excerpt:
On the One Hand…
These should not be foreboding years. The U.S. is in the midst of a veritable energy revolution. There is a godsend of new gas and oil discoveries that will help to curtail our fiscal and foreign policy vulnerabilities — an energy bonanza despite, not because of, the present administration.
In terms of farming, the United States is exporting more produce than ever before at record prices. Americans eat the safest and cheapest food on the planet.
As far as high-tech gadgetry, the global companies that have most changed the world in recent years — Amazon’s online buying, Google search engines, Apple iPhones, iPads, and Mac laptops — are mostly American. There is a reason why Mexican nationals are not crossing their border into Guatemala — and it is not because they prefer English speakers to Spanish speakers.
Militarily, the United States is light years ahead of its rivals. And so on…
Dr. Hanson goes on to discuss poverty in America (relative, not absolute, the latter of which is almost entirely unknown today,) Constitutional law and redistribution of wealth, looking ahead through the prism of 2012 into the spanking-new year of 2013. As usual, Dr. Hanson applies lessons learned from a lifetime of studying and teaching classical history to events happening today. And when you read, say, about the final years of the Roman Republic and compare rhetoric and events from that time to our current situation today… Well, it’s enough to make one a tad nervous.
Study the end of the Roman Republic sometime. It might ring familiar to you; gang warfare in the streets of the Eternal City, corrupt politicians, ultimatums thrown down to the people’s elected representatives by a chief executive. That leader, Julius Caesar, eventually seized control of the city and then the entire Republic, an act which effectively ended the Republican era and gave rise to the Roman Empire.
Make no mistake about this one thing, though; there is no Caesar about to rise here. None of the current crop of political leaders in Washington has the strength of will, the influence or – let’s be honest about this – the brains to be our Caesar. No, if the American republic falls, it will probably be with not a bang but a whimper. A whimper of a nation crushed under a mountain of debt, hamstrung by a culture of dependency, and neglected by a government that has grown too corrupt to function effectively.
- End the election of the House of Representatives. Make service in the House the equivalent of jury duty. From the list of registered voters in each district, one is selected at random every two years to serve in the House, following which they are forever barred from elected office.
- Repeal the Seventeenth Amendment, returning the appointment of Senators to the several state legislatures – and limit that appointment to one term, following which the Senator is forever barred from elected office. The Senate was originally intended to represent the state governments in Washington, and the House, the people; we should move back in that direction, in the name of the almost-forgotten concept of federalism.
Why do these two things? To end forever the political empire-building of career politicians; to end the entire system of a semi-permanent political ruling class. But there may be a catch; in such a system it may be possible for a career bureaucracy to arise, even more corrupt and unaccountable than our current political “leadership.”
In such things there are rarely easy answers.
But answers are what we need, and soon.