In the Introduction to his biography of Alexander Hamilton, former “National Review” editor and historian Richard Brookhiser wrote that “As an orator, he was not spellbinding. His method…was to find the first principles (emphasis mine) of his topic and tirelessly, even relentlessly, work out their consequences.”
(Pay attention students, because that’s called “insight”, which some of the most attention-seeking historians lack.)
In short, Hamilton spoke as he wrote, and as we know, he had a great deal to say about how the Constitution of the United States should look and read.
I have often written that the Constitution was a miracle, perhaps even Providential, for in 5000 years of recorded history it was the only event of its kind to be tried, much less succeed. In all those years the notion that man (and woman) had the natural right to be free had never been put to paper, much less put into practice before that period, 1776-1787.
Hold that thought.
We can then say the American Constitution, once its first principles were laid open, represents the First Principles of human liberty and self-governance; that men and women protected by these principles are free to pursue “life, liberty and happiness” as they wish. And in speaking of “all men” and “the people”, the Constitution applies equally to what I’ve always called the C and D students of our country, and not just our A’s and B’s.
Again, for 5000 years this had never before seen on earth.
Connecting the next dot, since the vast majority of any society is comprised of those C and D citizens, roughly 70%, our Constitution was always intended to make those people the ones who would choose their leaders in government. This was not in the fine print of the Constitution, but writ large.
I know this is simple math, even an 8th grader can figure it out, but follow me here, for except in places such as Appalachia and Pitcairn Island in the South Pacific, where the Bounty mutineers ended up, their inbred line not dying out until only recently, F citizens by no fault of their own, it has always been the practice of citizens to want to go out and elect the best and brightest in their town, county and state to represent their interests, usually along the lines of the original colonials who signed the Declaration…”no taxation without representation.”
So the common people weren’t against smart people, college educated people, even lawyers, as long as they met the peoples’ personal approval. For most Americans, few of which had actually read the Constitution until Donald Trump showed up and made home-grown scholars out of millions of them, the Constitution represented their right to go forward and build their House, even into an empire if they were capable enough, and they wanted someone in town council, city hall, or state capitol to protect their right to try it.
We’ve been all over this before.
But what the citizens didn’t want (or need), and still don’t or need, are those “smarter people”, even lawyers, especially lawyers, who could start telling them what was best suited for them, and who was best qualified to govern them, without really giving them a choice. As you already know from elections over the past 40 years or so, certain states, counties and cities routinely deny the people those choices. Look at the red-blue map and you can even tell where.
Let me stop right here and go in another direction, for the miracle of the Constitution was found in the wisdom of the Founders, their common sense, and their insights (there’s that word again) into what ordinary people could become if given the latitude to become it…in part because many of the founders knew their own family history as having been nothing special in the area of education. After all, most were home-or-church schooled.
The fact that they were “A-students” in nature only put them into that place at that time.
There were a few gentry, (one cut below “nobility”), Thomas Jefferson being one, so were many of the other slave state Founders. Some had gone to college and studied what rich kids studied; the Greek philosophers, as well as 17th-18th Europeans scholars and clergymen. So a few actually thought big thoughts, even beyond “no taxation without representation”; Jefferson in the South, Gouverneur Morris in the North, more than most of their contemporaries. And all but a few, including Ben Franklin, a generation older than them, and a true renaissance man, not to mention a horn-dog of sorts, had hung out in the dram shops and swapped stories with wharf rats. They were never distant from, or alien to, the common touch.
So, the Founders had a real sense of place in their own communities and colonies, and that sense arose largely from their being “of the people” much more than simply being well-read in Epictetus.
They were all lions of their communities, and each, save Hamilton, had a deep sense of their ancestry, having been there for more than a century, clearing land or setting up shop to tend to the needs of communities that began as sparsely as a dusty old town in Missouri in 1830.
Interestingly, it was Peter Strzok, that weenie desk-cop at FBI, (who has still not been indicted), that reminded citizens today that our government, for sometime now, had been managed by a class of people who had never been taught, thus never learned, much less forgotten, that there are People both “lesser and greater than ourselves” (from Max Ehrmann, “Desiderata”, 1927) a theme that sat very much on the souls of…believe it or not…the “sentimental liberals” of the Vietnam War era. I’ll bet you didn’t even know such a being existed, young people weeping about black folk who couldn’t vote in Alabama, when it was the Democrats who wouldn’t let them? (College book stores sold posters and LP’s recited by Les Crane and Leonard Nimoy. Best sellers.)
You may never have heard “Desiderata” before, if under 60. At the time it became popular, 1970, it had become that little angel on liberals’ shoulder, whispering into the right ear, while the Devil was on the left shoulder offering class hatred and anger, served up with a cocktail of artificial stimulants and a whole stew-pot of “isms”.
“Desiderata” WAS CERTAINLY NOT what Saul Alinsky had in mind; his mission, the creation of an army of mindless, drugged-out, spoiled rich kids, (“bratlings” I call their grandchildren today), who unlike the conventional thinking of the 60s when 2/3rds of America’s generations produced their first college graduates, would never have to strive for the collegiate dream working people had for their children; to be able to settle down with a wife (for life, they used to say) and a family, somewhere in a clean suburbia, and watch those kids get better edjumatcated than Mom and Dad.
In 1929 and the Wall Street Crash, only 10% of American urban youth rejected this “ideal” for American youth out of hand. By 1970, it was 20% and 2020, closer to 40%.
So “Desiderata” may well have been my generation’s epitaph, written in 1927, when Karl Marx was only making whispers at Columbia, NYU and CCNY. By the ’29 crash, university students with guaranteed inheritances weren’t looking for revolution, only for respectable stipends as university scholars (almost none were looking for divinity degrees at Yale anymore) or perhaps careers in the Foreign Service via Princeton or Harvard. Or Madison Avenue white collars. And Manhattan wives, until the 1960s, were still comfortably Republican (a la Rockefellers), attending dog shows or civic clubs, who I honored here in 2011, when “The New Yorker” did a tribute to the “Girls of New York” as they dealt with the invasion of American troops to the Big Apple during World War II.
Even after Wall Street crashed students still weren’t looking for Marx, although fewer of the upper class than you might imagine were actually affected by the Depression. By 1932, unwittingly American voters had chosen a 10-year restructure of government as offered by FDR and the Democrats, versus the much shorter natural market fix. We’re still carrying much of that baggage, America still under the mistaken belief that we would become undone if we went back and undid the whole FDR shebang. By 1970, the Vietnam War and Alinsky in charge, and his “ism-god” in firmer control at the academy, America could pull out its pitch-pipe for the upper class bratlings, and tune up for the opening verses of “Nearer My God, to Thee”, (which was sung by the left-behinds as the Titanic slowly sank beneath the waves in 1912)…only to a lower-case “god”.
The 80s-90s were the turning point point for the Strzok-generation, when business schools dropped “Adam Smith-ethics” and replaced them with ammoral Gordon Gekko “Greed is good” bottom-line analysis, and law schools removed Red-White-and-Blue patriotism in ConLaw, which only serves to remind us that the recent and ongoing tragedies in Afghanistan could logically be laid at the feet of the young Strzok-generation justices who applied their own post-structuralist notions of “conservatism” to deny all offers of proof of voter steals (plural) that might upset the overarching notion that a clean-hands election had to appear to have occurred. They simply weren’t generationally-prepared for what they saw take place in November, 2020.
I’ll have to deal with handling modern Millennial- Gen Z bratlings at a later time. It’s not the same as dealing with the Strzok-GenX bratlings, now 50 or thereabouts.
As for Peter Strzok and the 1000’s of bratling-bureaucrats who have provably violated laws of Man and Nature, as well the bratling-conservatives of the media world, such as Jonah Goldberg, my poster boy, whose insights have actually regressed simply because of Donald Trump coming onto the scene in 2015, destroying their ideal of a perfect world, and their place in it….I’ll also have to deal with this separately, although I think media-bratlings are already finding Natural Law taking care of business without my help.