The Corner

A Voyage to Laputa

We may have dodged the Mayan bullet last month, but as Michael Auslin points out, the End Times are here nonetheless. You can’t make this stuff up. A trip over the “fiscal cliff” that everyone knew was coming has now arrived; small men with big egos scramble fruitlessly around Washington, posturing for the cameras as the nation finally begins to buckle under president Obama’s 2008 campaign promise of “fundamental change”; and even the Constitution is now under direct attack, courtesy of the New York Times. And all, alas, utterly predictable

For this is where the leftist project has been headed all along: to a place of philosophical chaos and practical dysfunction. Like the nasty college professor, Corky Laputa (love not only the Swiftian but the Strangelovian echoes of his surname, and if you don’t immediately get the latter reference, watch this clip) in Dean Koontz’s memorable novel, The Face, they seek to sow anarchy on their way to power when the inevitable cries for crackdown finally come. Scratch a leftist, find a fascist inhabiting the skull beneath the smiling skin. I mean, did you ever in your life think you’d read the following in the pages of America’s pre-eminent newspaper? 

As the nation teeters at the edge of fiscal chaos, observers are reaching the conclusion that the American system of government is broken. But almost no one blames the culprit: our insistence on obedience to the Constitution, with all its archaic, idiosyncratic and downright evil provisions…

Our obsession with the Constitution has saddled us with a dysfunctional political system, kept us from debating the merits of divisive issues and inflamed our public discourse. Instead of arguing about what is to be done, we argue about what James Madison might have wanted done 225 years ago.

As someone who has taught constitutional law for almost 40 years, I am ashamed it took me so long to see how bizarre all this is…

Talk about “critical theory“! Naturally, Louis Michael Seidman is a graduate of Harvard Law, whence now seems to originate all our misery. (For a preview of the kind of misery heading our way, just look at these photos.) William F. Buckley, Jr., once famously said that he would rather be governed by the first few hundred names in the Boston phone book than by the faculty of Harvard, but in fact we are being governed by Harvard, from the Supreme Court on down; only at Harvard could Chief Justice John Roberts have learned the spineless sophistry that permitted him to rule in favor of Obamacare — a ruling that will live in infamy, assuming the U.S. survives Obamaism in any recognizable way. 

So behold the Lefty Whipsaw in action once more, as the once-unconscionable Bush “tax cuts for the rich” are now hailed as the salvation of the middle class (which is being ground to powder by Obama’s economic policies), thus allowing the Left’s real agenda — class warfare — to emerge as the sensible alternative. The GOP, of course, has no response to this — fixated upon Karl Rove’s Klipboard since the election of 2000, the Republicans have forsaken the high ground of principles for swampland of policies, a battlefield upon which they cannot hope to win, unless they think they are finally ready to mud-wrestle the Tammany pig. Which they’re not.

Conservatives understand, to their chagrin, that Obamaism cannot be defeated and rolled back until the GOP undergoes the same sort of ideological transformation that the Left effected upon the Democrats between 1968 and 1972. Sure, the donkeys lost for a while, and lost bad — Nixon wiped out McGovern in ‘72 and Reagan destroyed Mondale in 1984. But that was a price they were willing to pay for eventual victory.

And so here we are, our feet encased in rapidly hardened cement and about to go over the fiscal cliff and into the East River. As the iconic Tammany-era gangster, Dutch Schultz, says to the doomed Bo Weinberg in Billy Bathgate

Look at it this way Bo, I’m the one sittin’ here, and you’re the one sittin’ there. Now who would you rather be at this moment? 

Michael Walsh — Mr. Walsh is the author of the novels Hostile Intent and Early Warning and, writing as frequent NRO contributor David Kahane, Rules for Radical Conservatives.


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