Even small children recognize injustice, especially when they are its victims. “No fair” is the common schoolyard refrain. A sense of justice undoubtedly serves a host of evolutionary purposes. Imagine a world where the unjust, the wrong, always triumphed. Thieves prospered as crime went unpunished, the few stalwarts hewing to honesty and rectitude were marginalized or eliminated, and this social order evoked commendation rather than condemnation. How long would such a society survive? Cynics will say we are there now. That’s overblown, but they have a point.
A desire for political change that becomes an actual movement drip-feeds on perceived injustices. No political movement of consequence fails either to wrap its objectives in the mantle of justice or portray its opponents as evil. The Declaration of Independence is a transcendently important work of political philosophy, but it’s also a laundry list of grievances against King George. The aggrieved, not the political theorists, propel revolutions. The straw that breaks the camel’s back is often relatively minor, even trivial. However, it generally has disproportionate symbolic importance. The tea tax exacted on the colonists was a pittance, but it inspired the Boston Tea Party and the revolutionaries’ “No taxation without representation” slogan.
Eric Hoffer noted that: “What starts out here as a mass movement ends up as a racket, a cult, or a corporation” (The Temper of Our Time, 1967). The government birthed after the revolution has indeed degenerated into a racket, and those not in on it increasing recognize its injustices. It still tries to wrap its objectives in the mantle of justice, but the sole objective of government has become more government.
When the American welfare state got started during the Depression, it was sold as a humanitarian response to that crisis. That sentiment may have animated some of those who paid for the New Deal back then; those who pay now know they’re getting fleeced. The government is a giant redistributive mechanism (with a substantial portion redistributed to the government), and most of those on the receiving end are not “needy.” They are, however, desirable sources of votes and payola.
Between the low-class grifts of phony disability and unemployment and the high-class swindles of government contracting, labor racketeering, influence peddling, subsidies, tax breaks, regulatory machinations, spurious litigation, and all the other ways the denizens of America’s richest metropolitan area line their and their cronies’ pockets, those stout souls who still engage in honest and productive labor know they’re being robbed blind. Beneath the shrugs and resignation, fires of anger burn, and cauldrons of resentment bubble.
Fires and cauldrons dot the landscape. Nobody has forgotten who got bailed out in the last financial crisis—banks, other large financial institutions, and a couple of car companies—and who didn’t—millions of homeowners with underwater homes and foreclosed mortgages. It requires no great perspicacity to recognize who has benefitted from central bank policies since the crisis—leveraged speculators—and who has not—everybody else, with particular harm suffered by savers and those living on fixed incomes. Burn and bubble.
We’re all supposed to be blind to race, gender, ethnicity, sexual preference, and every other characteristic held to be irrelevant to human worth, except when it comes to government contracting, employment, and admission to institutions of learning. Might that rile those excluded because they didn’t have the right set of irrelevant characteristics? Proponents of such exclusion are invited to make their case directly to the excluded, and are advised to be careful when they do so. Victims don’t like being told they’re being screwed for the greater good.
That would include the victims of Obamacare, who have seen their medical and insurance choices shrink as their premiums and deductibles rise. Trite homilies that they are helping fund insurance and care for those who previously had none do nothing to assuage their anger, and undoubtedly increase it. Access to quality medical care is a significant concern for the nation’s aging population, and the law’s destructive absurdity, blessed by tortured Supreme Court rationalizations, is now obvious. As the quality of the US medical system deteriorates, people will suffer needlessly, or die when they should have lived. Victims and their survivors will be understandably perturbed.
Justice and equality are inseparable. Equality here does not mean the fatuous and impossible equality of outcomes that animates collectivists, but equality before the law. Equality of outcomes in all its collectivist guises obliterates equality before the law, the foundation of which is the concept of individual rights. For that concept to have any meaning, each individual must have the same rights, which receive the same protection from the government. Individual, equal rights must be the basis of the law, and when they are not, no justice is possible.
Law instead becomes a tool wielded by those who control the government against everyone else. Yesterday’s announcement by FBI Director James Comey that the FBI would recommend against charging Hillary Clinton in the email matter is the government wielding the law to protect its own. The fix has been in since at least 1913, when it gave itself permission to steal its constituents’ money (the income tax) and to begin the process of profitably substituting its scrip for gold (the Federal Reserve Act). The Clinton fix is business as usual. The exempt-from-the-law class expect outrage and contemptuously ignore it. Indeed, disclosure of the Loretta Lynch-Bill Clinton meeting may have been designed to rub the noses of the not-exempt in it. Yes, it looks terrible, but we run things, you don’t. You don’t like it? Tough shit, what are you going to do about it?
The not-exempt are left with the thin gruel of cynicism and the even thinner gruel of resignation. Are we without recourse? There are those burning fires and boiling cauldrons, fueled by Mt. Saint Helens’ magma-builds of righteous rage. Comey’s decision notches up the temperature. As important, there are the manifest weaknesses of the exempt, not the least of which is their arrogance and inability to even recognize, much less acknowledge, them. A not exhaustive list: debt; their anachronistic command and control philosophy; an imperial, costly, stupidly counterproductive, and unsustainable foreign policy; an economy held together by central bank baling wire and illusion; a hollowed-out industrial base; stagnant incomes; a bought off class of savages that must stay bought off to forestall chaos; immigration; terrorism, and cities on the verge of financial collapse.
King George and cohorts enacted the tea tax with the same insouciance with which the exempt have once again exempted Hillary. They had no idea they were lighting the fuse of revolution. What are we the outraged, the disgusted, the cynical, and yes, even the resigned, to do about this latest depredation? That last, one-too-many evil of the exempt turns ordinary citizens into nothing-to-lose revolutionaries. Don’t say it can’t happen; it has happened, repeatedly throughout history. Power’s inevitable corruption, oppression, and the best of humanity’s refusal to live their lives in chains has extinguished, against daunting odds, many an evil regime… and will continue to do so. Revolutions require revolutionaries. It would be altogether fitting and proper if this travesty—announced one day after Independence Day—was the tea tax to a Boston Harbor-style rebuke of the Clintons and their criminal class come November, and served as a rallying cry for a revolt that doesn’t end until the entire lot of them are overthrown.
A REVOLUTIONARY NOVEL