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Angelo M. Codevilla — Our Era's Tom Paine?

(Cross-posted from The Michigan View)

Rush Limbaugh recently dedicated a substantial portion of his show to an incredible article by Angelo M. Codevilla in the current American Spectator: America's Ruling Class — And the Perils of Revolution. (Here's the text of Limbaugh's monologue.)

Here's how important I think this article is: It makes me think of Thomas Paine's Common Sense.

Published in January 1776, Paine's most portentuous work "fixed" in written words (like a fly is "fixed" in amber) a lot of things that people intuitively knew and felt but had never heard boldly stated in clear, plain English.

And once the words had been written and read, for the readers there was no going back to their mental status quo ante: All their previously inchoate intuitions, resentments, frustrations, etc., became concrete and — perhaps more importantly — properly focused. People suddenly knew what their real adversary was and what had to come about.

Note, they still didn't know how to make it come about — just that it had to.

The Spirit of '76 was born, leading to Declaration of Independence being signed on July 4.

"Spirit of '10?" I think the modern day "Sam Adamses" probably have more work before that destination is reached, but it could be that a corner has been turned.

By the way, Codevilla's analysis applies just as much to state government and Michigan's bipartisan political class.


On Sunday I Facebooked some excerpts. Here's a selection:

"Differences between Bushes, Clintons, and Obamas are of degree, not kind. Moreover, 2009-10 establishment Republicans sought only to modify the government's agenda while showing eagerness to join the Democrats in new grand schemes, if only they were allowed to. ... The Republican Party did not disparage the ruling class, because most of its officials are or would like to be part of it."

"Never has there been so little diversity within America's upper crust. ... Today's ruling class, from Boston to San Diego, was formed by an educational system that exposed them to the same ideas and gave them remarkably uniform guidance, as well as tastes and habits. These amount to a social canon of judgments about good and evil, complete with secular sacred history, sins (against minorities and the environment), and saints."

"The two classes have less in common culturally, dislike each other more, and embody ways of life more different from one another than did the 19th century's Northerners and Southerners. ... Our classes' clash is over "whose country" America is, over what way of life will prevail, over who is to defer to whom about what."

"... This means that Democratic politicians are the ruling class's prime legitimate representatives and that because Republican politicians are supported by only a fourth of their voters while the rest vote for them reluctantly, most are aspirants for a junior role in the ruling class. In short, the ruling class has a party, the Democrats. But some two-thirds of Americans — a few Democratic voters, most Republican voters, and all independents — lack a vehicle in electoral politics."

"Its attitude is key to understanding our bipartisan ruling class. Its first tenet is that "we" are the best and brightest while the rest of Americans are retrograde, racist, and dysfunctional unless properly constrained."

"... the notion that the common people's words are, like grunts, mere signs of pain, pleasure, and frustration, is now axiomatic among our ruling class."

"Our ruling class's agenda is power for itself. While it stakes its claim through intellectual-moral pretense, it holds power by one of the oldest and most prosaic of means: patronage and promises thereof. Like left-wing parties always and everywhere, it is a 'machine,' that is, based on providing tangible rewards to its members."

"... our ruling class's standard approach to any and all matters, its solution to any and all problems, is to increase the power of the government — meaning of those who run it, meaning themselves ... "

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.