Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – [Mike, mocking] “What’s so big about the big, bad central government? There are a lot of things bad about it. One of the things it does is it desensitizes the citizen. It deprives the citizen of the responsibility of self-government. No longer does the citizen feel as though he is the citizen soldier who is responsible for he and his. Now the citizen is made to believe that the State is responsible for he and his. He’s just a number in the game. Bruce Frohnen wrote the first essay and now Allen Mendenhall has weighed in with ‘Secession and Messianic Statism: Evaluating the Current Union of the States Part 1.’ “ Check out today’s transcript for the rest…
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: I want to turn your attention. Allen Mendenhall, writing at the Nomocracy In Politics site, he is contributing to the symposium that I suggested Pete Haworth at Nomocracy undertake, and he has, which is a thoughtful, intellectual, peaceful, and reasoned discussion of the current state of the American Union and the pros and cons of it. Bruce Frohnen wrote the first essay and now Allen Mendenhall has weighed in with “Secession and Messianic Statism: Evaluating the Current Union of the States Part 1.” There are a couple of lines here from Allen’s piece. I’ve linked to it in today’s Pile of Prep.
Donald Livingston has pointed out that the “conflicts that divide Americans today are as profound as in any period in our history,” and also that “the nation-state itself and national identities created after the French Revolution no longer have the salience they once had and, in some cases, have disintegrated through secession.” In 2013, the potential secession of Scotland from the United Kingdom was not the only proposed dissolution of political bands to make headlines in American newspapers: to varying degrees, counties in Colorado, California, Maryland, and Alabama determined they were better off divorced from their mother state. It is likely that the gradual disintegration of the American central government, which “has encouraged an abstract ideological style of politics that favors universalist, egalitarian solutions applying across the board to all elements of the population,” will occur not at the state level, but at the more local level of municipalities and counties. In any case, it is reasonable if not commonsense to suppose that the United States of America, under its current boundaries and within its current constitutional framework, cannot last forever. Guessing, however, at the form and manner of the eventual demise of this country seems, to me, to involve hazardous predictions that prudent persons ought to avoid.
Mike: He doesn’t make any predictions, and in Livingston’s book Rethinking the American Union, they don’t make predictions. They make suggestions and some good thought starters on how this could happen. There’s more to Mendenhall’s essay than meets the eye. [mocking] “What’s so big about the big, bad central government?” There are a lot of things bad about it. One of the things it does is it desensitizes the citizen. It deprives the citizen of the responsibility of self-government. No longer does the citizen feel as though he is the citizen soldier who is responsible for he and his. Now the citizen is made to believe that the State is responsible for he and his. He’s just a number in the game. That is a 180-degree change from the way it used to be and the way it ought to be. You cannot have republicanism unless you have self-reliant citizens. Let’s go back to the small-business paradigm we’ve been talking about. That’s a self-reliant citizen. You don’t have to be in business, don’t misunderstand. Mendenhall has tapped into this.
Man has flourished within smaller forms of government than that which prevails today, and longstanding, tested theories of political organization have provided us with the datum we need to evaluate the current order with a cautious eye toward the future.
Mike: Then he explains a little bit more about what he’s about to do. I’m going to run out of time, so I want to skip forward to the part about Hayek.
Hayek points out in The Road to Serfdom that he spent about half of his adult life in Austria, where he witnessed firsthand the consequences of radical ideologies such as Nazism, and half in the United States and England, where radical ideologies were beginning to take hold. He reminds us that, although in America and England the memory of the Second World War provoked a general suspicion of anything resembling totalitarianism, suspicions of that kind were also prevalent in Germany only fifteen years before the rise of the ultimate form of totalitarianism, Nazism. Many of the premises of Nazism—including, he says, “the increasing veneration for the state, the fatalistic acceptance of ‘inevitable trends,’ the enthusiasm for ‘organization’ of everything (we now call it ‘planning’)”—are casually accepted and even promoted by so-called “mainstream” American politicians of both major political parties.
Hayek warns that the “supreme tragedy is still not seen that in Germany it was largely people of good will who, by their socialist policies, prepared the way for the forces which stand for everything they detest.” By way of explanation, he adds, “Few recognize that the rise of fascism and Marxism was not a reaction against the socialist trends of the preceding period but a necessary outcome of those tendencies.” The irony is that, today, “many who sincerely hate all of Nazism’s manifestations are working for ideals whose realization would lead straight to the abhorred tyranny.” If, during Hayek’s lifetime, we were on the road to serfdom, or to something worse, then we may very well be nearing an arrival—or something worse.
Mike: Wow, talk about a dystopian view of the future. Folks, we see this all around us. Some people won’t grasp it, won’t admit it. Instead they get angry, wave the flag, call you a weak tea-sucking hippie and an America hater and all that. When we give our approbation to our government, that thinks it can kill anyone, anywhere on the planet, at any time, you’re over the Rubicon. There’s no going back now. We wonder why the federal government ignores or makes paupers out of the state legislatures and out of county governments and city governments. We do the same thing internationally, yet we have people that call themselves conservatives that support this. We ought to be telling other people how to govern themselves. Really? So if it’s okay to do that in the Middle East or Near East or Europe or the Pacific Rim, wouldn’t the same ideology, the same manner of thinking apply right here domestically? You bet your you-know-what it does. That’s why I say foreign policy is number one on the list. It is the biggest thing that stands in the way of any return to republicanism, and we’re not going to get one anytime soon at this rate and doing what we’re doing.
End Mike Church Show Transcript