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The toxic "leader" meme

koolaid This time, Nancy Pelosi:

"We have to make responsible decisions in the Congress that are not driven by the dissatisfaction of anybody who wants the war to end tomorrow," Pelosi told the gathering at the Sofitel, arranged by the Christian Science Monitor. Though crediting activists for their "passion," [that is, their money and time] Pelosi called it "a waste of time" for them to target Democrats. "They are advocates," [Pelosi] said. "We are leaders."

Really.

Funny, I would have thought that Pelosi was the Speaker of the House of Representives and a Representative herself.

And the last thing I remember Pelosi "leading" was the stampede of Democrats heading back to the district on vacation after they'd betrayed the Fourth Amendment, at midnight, when Harry Reid managed to pass the Republican bill gutting FISA.

But wait: There's more!

It seemed that only the antiwar advocates had the power to wipe the smile off Pelosi's face. Speaking about ethics legislation, she boasted that "we have drained the swamp" in Congress and pleased government watchdog groups. "At last," she added, "some advocates from the outside who are satisfied."

Gosh, "outside"? "Outside" what? The Village, perhaps?

And you know, I don't think of myself as an "advocate." That makes it sound like I'm in it for the money, like a lobbyist, or one of those corporations with all that free speech in the handy, fungible form of loose cash.

No, I think of myself as an informed citizen, exactly as the Founders intended. Federalist 27:

I will, in this place, hazard an observation, which will not be the less just because to some it may appear new; which is, that the more the operations of the national authority are intermingled in the ordinary exercise of government, the more the citizens are accustomed to meet with it in the common occurrences of their political life, the more it is familiarized to their sight and to their feelings, the further it enters into those objects which touch the most sensible chords and put in motion the most active springs of the human heart, the greater will be the probability that it will conciliate the respect and attachment of the community. Man is very much a creature of habit. A thing that rarely strikes his senses will generally have but little influence upon his mind. A government continually at a distance and out of sight can hardly be expected to interest the sensations of the people. The inference is, that the authority of the Union, and the affections of the citizens towards it, will be strengthened, rather than weakened, by its extension to what are called matters of internal concern; and will have less occasion to recur to force, in proportion to the familiarity and comprehensiveness of its agency. The more it circulates through those channels and currents in which the passions of mankind naturally flow, the less will it require the aid of the violent and perilous expedients of compulsion.

This is a two-edged sword, of course: The intimacy of the Federal government with we the people is exactly what is at issue in the current struggle to preserve the Fourth Amendment.

However, regardless of whether one agrees with Hamilton's implicit identification of the national with a strong executive, Pelosi, in maintaining a separation between "leaders" on the one hand and "activists" (not even citizens!) on the other, clearly wants to be "continually at a distance and out of sight," which is greatly at variance with the system the Founder devised

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Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

"What no one seemed to notice," said a colleague of mine, a philologist, "was the ever widening gap[...]between the government and the people. Just think how very wide this gap was to begin with, here[...]. And it became always wider. You know, it doesn’t make people close to their government to be told that this is a people’s government, a true democracy, or to be enrolled in civilian defense, or even to vote. All this has little, really nothing, to do with knowing one is governing.

"What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could not understand it, it could not be released because of national security. And their sense of identification [...] made it easier to widen this gap and reassured those who would otherwise have worried about it.

"This separation of government from people, this widening of the gap, took place so gradually and so insensibly, each step disguised (perhaps not even intentionally) as a temporary emergency measure or associated with true patriotic allegiance or with real social purposes. And all the crises and reforms (real reforms, too) so occupied the people that they did not see the slow motion underneath, of the whole process of government growing remoter and remoter.

From http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chica...

Prescient words that we all hesitate to invoke but it's like deja vu all over again.

Submitted by lambert on

I remember being pointed to that back in the day, on the WaPo forums, before I started blogging, and it's informed everything since.

We. Are. Going. To. Die. We must restore hope in the world. We must bring forth a new way of living that can sustain the world. Or else it is not just us who will die but everyone. What have we got to lose? Go forth and Fight!—Xan

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