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The Growing Tyranny of the Political Elite

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The Growing Tyranny of the Political Elite

By Jeffrey  Folks                       

Recently,  the White House released  a photo of the president shooting skeet.  But where's the snap of him  fishing for bass?  Apparently the White House felt compelled to portray  Obama as a marksman in light of the widespread pushback over the  administration's gun control agenda but felt no urgency to defend the prospect  of the EPA's potential regulation of lead in fishing weights.  Yet the  agency seriously entertained just such a ban last year.  What's next?   The lead in barbells?

For  hundreds of years, human beings have used lead for many purposes, and life  on earth has not exactly come to an end.  Now we are told that the lead  used in hunting and fishing is harming animals and fish, and it may just have to  stop.  The scary thing is that one individual, an appointed bureaucrat  directing the Environmental Protection Agency, has the power to impose such a  ban.

The  pattern is familiar with this administration.  A small cadre of elite  administrators, czars, judges, or politicians -- often just one person -- thinks  it (or he or she) has the right to decide what's best for 320 million Americans.  Without adequate information, debate, or cost analysis, regulations are written  and imposed, and no one, not even the people's representatives in the House of  Representatives, has the right to influence them.

Political  elites have always existed in America, and during the past 100 years they have  gravitated toward the Democratic Party.  FDR's "brain trust," which  included Guy Tugwell and Hugh Johnson, was just one example.  But perhaps  no administration in our history has been controlled by elites to the extent  that the Obama presidency has.  With academics like Cass Sunstein and crony  capitalists like those backing green energy projects calling the shots, the  elite have stepped in, determined to rule in place of the public  will.

What  is now happening was predicted -- and celebrated -- over forty years ago by  Robert L. Heilbroner, one of the darlings of the New Left.  In The  Limits of American Capitalism, Heilbroner laid out a plan by which the  innately conservative leanings of the American people could be quashed and  replaced by the centralized control of a political elite.  Heilbroner's  book concludes with a chilling vision of the way forward.  What he  advocates is, in effect, a socialist totalitarian state, where the government  controls every aspect of human life.  In the name of reform, this statist  system would regulate if not nationalize all major industries -- but it would  also go farther than that.

What  Heilbroner envisaged was the rise of a ruling elite centralized in government,  media, and the universities.  This group of decision-makers would operate  "on behalf of" the public and on the basis of "scientific principles" of social  control.  As Heilbroner writes, "[n]ot alone economic affairs ... but the  numbers and location of the population, its genetic quality, the manner of  social domestication of children, the choice of lifework -- even the duration of  life itself -- are all apt to become subjects for scientific investigation and  control" (The Limits of American Capitalism, New York, 1966, pp.  129-130).

Heilbroner's  books were bestsellers in the 1960s, widely read and admired by liberals  everywhere.  They were, in effect, neo-Keynesian, pro-statist instruction  manuals studied by the likes of Bill Ayers and Cass Sunstein, President Obama's  tutors in state control and regulation.

Heibroner's  books popularized the liberal premise that the political elite has the right and  obligation to make fundamental decisions on behalf of the mass of citizens.   In doing so, Heilbroner understood, the elite must find ways to subvert  the naturally conservative inclinations of the people -- especially those  lumpen-headed businessmen whom Heilbroner so despised.  Decision-making  must be shifted from individuals and elected representatives to bureaucrats and  judges appointed by leftist politicians.  Public opinion must be shaped and  molded by elitist academics and journalists.  The will of the state must be  imposed, by violence if necessary.  This was the future of America,  according to Robert L. Heilbroner, and it is the vision of America adopted by  those young activists in the 1960s and 1970s who now constitute the leadership  of the Democratic Party.

Heilbroner  believed that it would take hundreds of years to overturn democracy in America,  in part because of the nation's widespread support of capitalism and the  country's pesky tradition of individual rights.  He noted, however, that  the process could be speeded up in the event of a severe economic crisis.   Another great national depression or prolonged recession would make it  possible for government to enact a series of "reforms" that would shift control  from the private sector to government.  Government would then control not  just major sectors of the economy, but the personal lives of all citizens.   Their incomes, their health care, their educations, their home mortgages,  their communications and entertainment, their access to news and information  would all fall under the control of the political elite.  At that point,  Heilbroner believed, utopia would be at hand.

Everything  that Heilbroner predicted is now coming to pass.  Attorney General Holder  has waged a virtual war against Arizona's attempt to defend itself against  unchecked immigration.  Congress has created an office of consumer affairs  with broad powers to regulate financial transactions. A European-style  bureaucrat has been appointed to direct the rationing of medical services.   And the EPA believes that it has the authority not just to police hunting  and fishing supplies, but to regulate carbon dioxide, a natural product of the  act of breathing.

The  preferred modus operandi, in fact, is to appoint a single individual with the  power to control some large part of American life.  So much power has now  been concentrated in the hands of a handful of appointees, most of them  reporting directly to the president, that it is now doubtful whether America can  still be considered a democratic nation.  Government has become the enemy  of the people, because it is now in the hands of left-wing elitists who are  opposed to traditional American values and who have only contempt for the  democratic process.

Fortunately,  Americans are becoming more aware of the concentration of power within the new  political elite and more skeptical of the elite's ability to govern.  While  the president's job approval rating has for the moment risen following his  election victory, a  growing number of Americans "strongly disapprove" of his performance.   An even larger percentage finds that Congress, with leaders like Democrat  Harry Reid in charge of the Senate, is incapable of governing.

What's  needed is to make 2014 another 2010 and throw the rascals out -- all of them who  support Obama's unconstitutional "recess" appointments and agency power  grabs.

Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/02/the_growing_tyranny_of_the_political_elite.html#ixzz2M8a9jjO6

Entry #379

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