Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Right now. Don't apologize. You could never be sorry enough anyway.
Whether the people who want to take away what I quaintly imagine to be my liberties as a citizen of what with some charity could be called a republic, are beautiful or ugly, is the least of my worries. I love Margaret Thatcher and I don't think Victoria's Secret missed anything by not making her one of its models. Sorry for the visual, and sorry for being sorry for the visual, and sorry for saying that too. Let there be, that is, an infinite regress of apologies and yes, I know, I can never understand, the pain that must be involved in being one of the most powerful women in the richest country in the history of the world, and still have people make fun of you for not being great looking. I can only imagine, very unsuccessfully, how awful that must be. Why can't people just appreciate other people for the truly awesome wonderfulness that their accomplishments prove that they are, in all their true, as opposed to superficial, superiority?
To be fair to Maggie, I suspect you would not have wanted to see James Madison in a speedo. George Washington was a hunk by universal acclaim and his looks served us well, and even more his physical stamina,Valley Forge, etc., which was probably related to his manly good looks. So just as your mother might have told you, looks are as good as the purposes you put them toward. Saving the republic, good. Being, e.g., the trophy wife of some egregious banker turned politico, bad.
And why shouldn't a woman or a man be able to use his or her looks to make her or his way in this tough old world? What's so unfair about that? Why is rule by the smart so much more inherently just than rule by the not-that-ugly? It's not like smart people are any less self-interested.
If an environmental catastrophe half as bad were happening in my native state of Idaho, and the federal response were like it appears to be in the Gulf, I would make James Carville look like the soul of sanity. I'm angry and I hate swamps.
Sounds like he is correct
My somewhat relevant idea here may deserve a post of its own, but let me put it out there anyway. It occurs to me that the public cost of Presidents and persons of congressionality, not to mention the numerous posers and panderers who advise and cling on to them, wanting to appear to be doing great things (and along the way making a lot of money doing it) is very great. But the urge to pose as a servant of the public while enriching oneself is very deep, as any student of governments can confirm.
Let us turn to Britain and before it, Rome. Both of these regimes had or have elaborate hierarchies, titles of nobility, public priesthoods, and public offices where the occupants did, to use the British phrase, bugger all, and yet which carried with them both enormous prestige and the opportunity to line one's pockets. Perhaps it is time in this country to reconsider by way of fruitful imitation, I suggest boldly, our constitutional bar to titles of nobility. Indeed, perhaps we should consider putting in place an entirely ceremonial monarch.
Before you recoil in horror at the anti-republican import of this, bear in mind I am suggesting that these social places would be entirely ceremonial and have no actual legal authority whatever, except perhaps to stage elaborate events, award each other medals and titles, and maybe sport certain articles of clothing. Why would I suggest this? Well, consider how much better off the country would be if our young princeling President were not President, but a purely ceremonial king. We would need to spend a few hundred millions of dollars every year for him to go about giving speeches, playing golf and generally posing as a sort of universal savior. Wasted money, you may say. But consider the alternative. Now we are spending hundreds of billions and even trillions, some large part of which is attributable to one man's curious psychological need to be, well, a kind of savior king. That need can be satisfied, I suggest, much more cheaply than we are doing it. And what of so many other of our rulers in the Congress and the great departments of government? Not all of them, but perhaps many of the worst would be diverted by the opportunity to be Keeper of the Royal Remote Control, Warden of the Royal Greens or Walker of the Royal Puppy. I am thinking these jobs would be well paid and so would be attractive to some of the most devoted of our public servants.
Of course, it may well be that establishing a noble class in this country would create just another parasitic layer upon ecosystem America. We would end up with the Special Assistant to the Deputy Assistant Under Secretary of the Department of Bugger All in addition to the Lady in Waiting to the Princess of Hyde Park. That would be bad. My suggestion only works if we could substitute a useless, expensive but ultimately impotent nobility for a horribly harmful and ruinously costly ruling class. Whether constitutional reform could assure such a substitution effect, I concede, remains an open question.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010