Sunday, April 01, 2007

John Stewert Mill...and us....

This is a cross post from here but I think it's worth it....

I've been known to go off the deep end on political philosophy, with a particular emphasis on the origins of Conservative Philosophy, and I have received only lukewarm reception to it. But I found another site that engages in those efforts as much as I do and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The name of the site is The Existentialist Cowboy...and you can read it here....

I'll have to admit that I haven't paid a lot of attention to John Stewert Mill, but I found his relevancy to be very high in our current political climate.

The "cowboy" surmizes:

Mill understood that the democratic ideal -a government of the people -
isoften not the case in fact. Those exerting the power of the government
-electedofficials, bureaucrats, the judiciary - develop their own interests,
influencedby special interests and their constituencies in ways at odds with the
interestsand liberties of individuals, minorities, or, indeed, the greater good
of thesociety as a whole. Indeed, a majority may become tyrannical when its
interestsare at odds with the legitimate interests of a minority or an
individual. Millsees no difference between a tyranny of one and a tyranny of
many. Amajority running roughshod over the rights of individuals and
minorities is noless a tyrant because it is a majority, because it is elected, or because it iselected by a majority.

So how does that apply to our current political situation?

Well, consider this:

Under the guise of protecting us, the Bush Administration has taken to itself powers unheard of by any other administration in our history. Although Bush was arguably elected "legitimately" in 2000 and then again in 2004, by a "majority" (except it wasn't a majority in 2000) the "majority" cannot take away rights guaranteed by the constitution. Of course they (the majority) could legitimately AMEND the Constitution but I suspect that upon proposing that the "majority" would quickly disappear. But, as they say, here we are.....

Illegal wiretapping has been taking place even beyond the draconian and constitutionally questionable provisions of the Patriot Act.

Persons suspected of being terrorists are detained (not only on the battlefield but also on US soil) and detained without charge;without trial indefinitely.

Dissent is stiffled from the Bully Pulpit of the Presidency.

Congress is bullied and threatened by the President for the legitimate exercise of both their oversite power and exercise of the "power of the purse".

To underscore how tragic this has become, take a look at this from Glenn Greenwald's column today:

Two of the three leading Republican candidates for President
eitherembrace or are open to embracing the idea that the President can
imprisonAmericans without any review, based solely on the unchecked decree of
thePresident. And, of course, that is nothing new, since the current
RepublicanPresident not only believes he has that power but has exercised it
against U.S.citizens and legal residents in the U.S. -- including those arrested
not on the"battlefield," but on American soil.

What kind of American isn't just instinctively repulsed by
thenotion that the President has the power to imprison Americans with no
charges?And what does it say about the current state of our political culture
that oneof the two political parties has all but adopted as a plank in its
platform aview of presidential powers and the federal government that is --
literally --the exact opposite of what this country is?

So the Cowboy's premise is right. The Bush Administration is illegitimate as hell......from a philosophical standpoint, from a legal standpoint, and from a moral standpoint.

I've thought all the talk about impeachment to be "crazy talk"...... now......well, I'm not sure how "crazy" it is.

1 comment:

Len Hart said...

Thanks for referencing "The Existentialist Cowboy" ...but most importantly thanks for helping call attention to a major political philospher --John Stuart Mill.

Although not forgotten, it is good to remember his timeless ideas, especially now when so many ideals of freedom are under attack. about exchanging links on our blogrolls. You have my URL and I will place a link to you on the "Cowboy".

Again, thanks and keep up the great work.