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Friday, August 26, 2005

Q. They Ransack the Treasury, Rape the Environment, Start Bogus Wars, and Gut the Constitution. What Do They Call Their Act?
A. The Aristocrats 

In the airport yesterday, as we were waiting for the plane that would convey us home from the land of caribou and zombies (we did not actually see any caribou), we came across an item at AmericaBlog about how Time magazine sat on a major story that might have influenced the November 2004 election on the grounds that it might have influenced the November 2004 election. But then it is scarcely unprecedented for the Fourth Estate to demonstrate a selective commitment to the truth, as our invaluable colleague Jonathan Schwarz of A Tiny Revolution reminds us in a post we missed during our travels (but subsequently discovered through the kind agency of another invaluable colleague, Chris Floyd).

Mr. Schwarz tells an illuminating anecdote about Richard Cohen, the Washington Post, and Gary Hart's aborted run for the presidency, the point of which is to remind us that "media elites" do exist, and perceive themselves in exactly those terms; that they do not see much value in the notion of an informed electorate; that they in fact regard the American people as, in Alexander Hamilton's term, a "great beast," a herd to be scorned, feared, but above all managed; that they are just as likely to tell us the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth as the Straussian mob that currently runs D.C. It's all good stuff, but the bit we liked best was a quote from Thomas Jefferson, who is still a big name in the red state of our nativity:
Men by their constitutions are naturally divided into two parties: 1. Those who fear and distrust the people, and wish to draw all powers from them into the hands of the higher classes. 2. Those who identify themselves with the people, have confidence in them, cherish and consider them as the most honest and safe, although not the most wise depository of the public interests. In every country these two parties exist, and in every one where they are free to think, speak, and write, they will declare themselves. Call them, therefore, Liberals and Serviles, Jacobins and Ultras, Whigs and Tories, Republicans and Federalists, Aristocrats and Democrats, or by whatever name you please, they are the same parties still, and pursue the same object. The last appellation of Aristocrats and Democrats is the true one expressing the essence of all.
While you are visiting A Tiny Revolution, see also Mr. Schwarz's post on the repeal of the Public Utility Holding Company Act. We have long maintained that the Enron scandal came to light only because the modern-day mugwump Sen. Jim Jeffords (I-VT) bolted the GOP, briefly returning the power of subpoena to the Democrats. Now that the Democrats are in disarray and the lesson of Grandma Millie has been forgotten, Messrs. Bush and Cheney can get on with their work; all barriers to deregulation will vanish, and favored corporations will once again enjoy the double-oh status that is their birthright here in Market World.

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