I Am Establishment

So who is this “establishment” being talked about by all the angry folks out there.
Apparently, the establishment is Mitt Romney. But then, Mr. Romney isn’t even in government. Does that really count?
Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio are now apparently the establishment. That is a bit odd. Both were Tea Party favorites only a few years ago and wasn’t the Tea Party anti-establishment?
Well, it must be Mitch McConnell – a guy from Kentucky?
The establishment could be Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama, but then they will claim to be anti-rich and therefore anti-establishment.
I guess all these folks clamoring about the establishment mean folks who are educated in certain schools or who hold power and thus have access to money and power?
But Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity have significantly more money and power than almost anyone trying to serve our country in government, if influence equals power. Could they be the establishment?
I guess not, given they are the ones constantly whining about the establishment.
What about Donald Trump – a multi-billionaire who hangs out with other rich folks and brags about it? Sounds pretty establishment to me.
One thing you can be sure of. Everyone is going to say they are not the establishment given that it has become the new demonization buzzword in politics. Hillary will claim that as a woman trying to become president, she is the anti-male establishment candidate. Bernie is the anti-money establishment candidate. Ted Cruz is the anti-big government establishment candidate and Donald Trump is the anti-everything establishment candidate.
So let us count the establishments.
There is a media establishment.
There is a talk radio establishment.
There is a left political establishment, and a Republican political establishment, and a government establishment, and an anti-government establishment. There is an entertainment establishment, a victimology industry establishment, a university establishment, a corporate establishment and a military establishment.
The country club is the establishment. So is the network of black churches that drive political discourse in the African American community.
Now that I think about it, maybe I am the establishment.
Here is a thought on “the establishment” – it is a vague, imprecise term that in today’s political climate can mean anyone and anything you want it to mean, provided it suits your political agenda and world view.
What is the point of the hysteria in any case? As the anti-communist historian Milovan Djilas wrote a half century ago: the old order will, as it always has, give way to a new class. Anyone familiar with Marxist and/or Soviet history knows the routine – the new revolutionary order comes to power. They need people to run the machinery of government and society, so who do they pick? Their own cronies and henchmen and political allies. They are now the establishment to all those not in the power loop. In short, the establishment is who is in and the anti-establishment means those on the outside looking in.
It is particularly odd to see conservatives, who have historically and steadfastly opposed class warfare and thoughtless jargon, cling so tenaciously to such a meaningless yet potentially destructive bit of jargon. Yes, we know what they think they mean: those folks who run Washington and its institutions and cozy up to lobbyists and help maintain the status quo.
But establishment, like it or not, is in the eye of the beholder.
Embrace the “tear down the establishment” mentality and you may discover that things can be worse than you imagined: no rule of law, no system of justice, no economic stability and, finally, no constitutional order. Just ask folks from other parts of the world – you had better be careful what you ask for. There is a reason we are a Republic and not a mobocracy.
Maybe we can get past bumper sticker political rhetoric and get serious about fixing our nation, though given the depths to which Donald Trump and Hillary are dragging political discourse, I am not very confident. Even so, with a credit to Mark Levin (whose writing I admire….and whose radio show I can occasionally tolerate), here are a few issues we might take on:
1. Impose Congressional term limits
2. Repeal the Seventeenth Amendment, returning the election of Senators to state legislatures
3. Impose term limits for Supreme Court Justices and restrict judicial review
4. Require a balanced budget and limit federal spending and taxation
5. Define a deadline to file taxes (one day before the next federal election)
6. Subject federal departments and bureaucratic regulations to reauthorization and review
7. Create a more specific definition of the Commerce Clause
8. Limit eminent domain powers
9. Allow states to more easily amend the Constitution
10. Create a process where two-thirds of the states can nullify federal laws
11. Require photo ID to vote and limit early voting
William F. Buckley, no doubt “establishment” by today’s standards, once called demonology a slovenly way to go about discussing issues. Slovenly thinking leads to sloppy rhetoric, which in turn leads to a great deal of screaming and insulting and ultimately a breakdown in civil order.

You see it everywhere, from the post-Ferguson mobs to Hillary’s reckless Jim Crow comments to the demeaning Republican primary rhetoric. Should we get the leaders we deserve this time around, we may all be in trouble.

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